ADDIS ABABA – A mere 3.2% of high school students in Ethiopia managed to pass their university entry exam, marking a slight decrease from the previous year, the education ministry revealed on Monday. From the staggering total of 845,188 students who took the examination, only 27,000 achieved the 50% score needed for university admission.
Inadequate Resources and Teaching Methods to Blame
The concerning results have ignited discussions on the state of education in the nation. Meseret Assefa, a lecturer at Addis Ababa University, points to a shortage of teaching resources and limited teaching techniques as significant contributors to the poor outcomes. While there have been significant strides in combating cheating, Assefa emphasizes that the core issues leading to widespread failure have yet to be addressed adequately.
A Brighter Picture in Primary Education, But Issues Persist
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that Ethiopia has made considerable advances in primary education, with a commendable 88% enrollment rate for the academic year 2021-2022. However, the transition to secondary education remains a significant hurdle, with just 33.1% of students progressing to this level. Furthermore, 90% of 10-year-olds in the country struggle to read or comprehend basic sentences.
A Deeper Dive into the Exam Statistics
Education Minister Berhanu Nega shed light on the stark disparities within the results. Of the 3,106 schools that held the 12th-grade national examination, an astonishing 42.8% did not have a single student achieving the pass mark. On a more positive note, five schools boasted a 100% pass rate, with four being boarding schools located in various parts of the country. Five other institutions had over 94.5% of their students passing the examination, with the majority being boarding schools.
Second Chances: The Return of Remedial Exams
Despite prior announcements that remedial exams – meant to provide an additional opportunity to students – would be discontinued, the sheer low pass rates have led the ministry to reconsider. Prof. Berhanu Nega confirmed that these exams will be reintroduced, mirroring a similar decision made the previous year after disappointing exam results.
This decision reflects the Ministry’s commitment to improving university enrollment numbers and addressing the broader challenges facing the nation’s education system.