Ethiopian University Entrance Exams: Just 3% of High School Students Succeed


Only 3% of Ethiopian high school students passed the university entrance exam, with issues like a lack of teaching resources and ineffective methods contributing to the low pass rate, highlighting challenges in the country’s education system.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education revealed that a mere 3% of high school students have successfully passed the university entrance examination, marking a trend consistent with the previous year. Among the staggering 845,188 students who participated in the entrance test, only 27,000 managed to attain the required average for university admission, equating to a passing rate of just 3.2%. Alarmingly, this figure represents a mere 0.01 percentage point drop compared to the previous academic year. Even more concerning is that in nearly half of the schools where students participated in the examination, not a single student managed to pass.

The dire state of Ethiopian education was attributed by Dr. Meseret Assefa, a lecturer at Addis Ababa University’s Faculty of Educational and Behavioural Sciences, to several factors, including a lack of adequate teaching resources and ineffective teaching methods. While he acknowledged recent efforts to combat cheating in exams, he emphasized that insufficient attention has been paid to addressing the fundamental teaching and learning challenges that adversely affect student performance.

Despite making notable strides in achieving universal primary education, as evidenced by 88.7% of the country’s children enrolled in primary schools by 2021-2022, Ethiopia faces a significant disparity when it comes to secondary education. Only 33.1% of the relevant age group is enrolled in secondary education, according to UNICEF. Moreover, the quality of learning remains a substantial challenge, with a staggering 90% of 10-year-olds unable to read or comprehend a simple text. In 2018, just 10% of the age group in Ethiopia was engaged in higher education, according to the World Bank.