The past year has been a harsh awakening for the Ethiopian educational system. For the first time in Ethiopian history, the national exam was held at public universities as opposed to students’ high schools — a decision made by education officials to prevent cheating and raise the integrity of the exam.
Yonatan Tekie, our Country Director in Ethiopia, comments on the importance of the exam, “[It] gives accountability to teachers and schools to show what they have done, identifying the system’s weaknesses and strengths.”
The Results of The Exam
This past year’s national exam produced devastating results, though they identified some significant areas for improvement in the system. Out of the 900,000 students that sat for this exam, less than 5 percent came out with a passing score. Dr. Tesema Abebe, a teacher from Top Academy School in Ethiopia, shares his disappointment, “I am sorry for the result, but it is not the students’ responsibility only, but of the families, teachers, and government. [All things considered], the result was the expected one.” Many Ethiopian public school teachers had to face the reality that the educational system had failed. For many students, this failure meant taking the exam a second time within the government-provided remediation or simply retaking their last year of high school, putting all plans on hold.
A Different Story
Now, what would it look like if these same students had received a quality Christ-centered education from a system based on integrity? To paint the picture with numbers, we saw significantly different results in Edify’s Core Schools (those part of our 3-year intensive program). Of this group, 39 percent of students passed the initial exam, 41 percent passed the second round, and 79 percent were accepted into universities. This is not only significantly higher but a completely different narrative for each student in attendance.
One partner school, Bole Kiwot School, located in the city of Addis Ababa, has found much success among its students. One of these students, Anteneh, shares how the Discipleship Club has changed his life, “Being at a Christian school has helped me a lot. I’ve learned that when your spiritual life grows, your academic life grows along with it.”
Raising the Bar
In a nation where many young adults rarely receive the tools necessary to reach their God-given potential, schools in Edify’s Core Program have raised the bar. Because of the commitment of these schools, the educational landscape of Ethiopia is changing for the good. As we look to the future generations of Ethiopian students, we are seeking to expand our Core Program, and we pray that every student finds their way in fulfilling the plans God has laid out for them.