Consortium of Ethiopian Public Universities (CEPU) in collaboration with Addis Ababa University (AAU) held a national conference focused on the importance, implementation and challenges of higher education exit exam at AAU College of Business and Economics campus on the 2nd of April 2022.

The theme of the Conference was “Exit Exam Policy Implementation to Promote Quality Education and Modern University Governance System to Increase Efficiency of Higher Education in Ethiopia: Challenges and Prospects”.

Professor Tassew Weldehanna, President for both CEPU and AAU, said that providing quality education is a major goal of all universities around the world, and all the member universities of the Forum, like overseas universities, have strong aspirations and hopes.

According to Prof. Tassew, as part of improving the quality of education, the university exit exam is used to monitor and evaluate students’ knowledge, skills and attitude before they receive their undergraduate degrees.

Encouraging universities to explore and improve their teaching methods, and strengthening student efforts to increase the values of graduate employment with sufficient knowledge, skills and attitudes are among the basic goals of the exit exam policy, Prof. Tassew stated.

However, depending on the implementation of the university exit exam policy, the following questions may be raised at this meeting or at different times:” he said.

Is there a comprehensive preparation for the standardized exit exam? How long can students take the exit exam again? How are the accuracy, reliability and practicality of the test handled? Is it possible to reverse the declining quality of education by preparing for the exit exam? Is the test administered at all disciplines? Why not start with just a few disciplines? …”

Samuel Kiflie (PhD), State Minister at MoE, on his opening remarks said, the government is focusing on the quality of education over the next five years and is taking various strategic steps to implement it at all levels. Efforts are being made to reorganize the existing universities, modernize their facilities, provide infrastructure, teachers’ development, and more, he added.

One of the steps to be taken is a university exit exam based on the curriculum which is believed to bring quality and supportive education. This is not a professional license test, but a system to ensure whether the graduates’ performances in the curriculum are met,” Dr. Samuel confirmed.

According to Dr. Samuel, the preparation of exit exam strategy and its implementation guidelines have already been developed by Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS) and the Ministry of Education (MoE).

As mentioned by the Sate Minster, exit exams are going to be developed, implemented and administered by the universities themselves,  and the role of the Ministry will be to ensure the up to standard the tests and whether they are maintained based on the curriculum.

Belay Hagos (PhD), Director of AAU Institute of Educational Research (IER), delivered a presentation based on a study that examined the importance of exit exam in relation to the basis of national and international experiences.

The reason for the importance of the exit exam based on the study is that there is a great deal of doubt about the quality of education these days, and the minimum a graduate’s qualification performance is being questioned by customers and employers,” Dr. Belay said.

Dr. Belay stated that some countries like Germany, India, USA and the United Arab Emirates administer university exit exam as an international indication. Health professionals’ licensure examination and law students’ exit exams are Ethiopian experiences that we have so far, he added.

The result of the 2016/17 school year, health professionals’ licensure examination and the law exit exam of (2006-2008 E.C.), which were examined in the study, showed that exit exam for all university graduates should be mandatory, Dr. Belay said.

Dr. Belay, based on the research result said that there were very significant differences between the results of public and private institutions as well as between regular and non-regular students, but administering exit exam for all university graduating students should be a must.

The participants of the conference, mainly presidents of Ethiopian public universities and members of CEPU, warmly discussed over the issue (university exit exam) and finally agreed that the exam should be practical soon but the implementation has to run little by little, not including all the disciplines at once.

Editor: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Andualem Aseffa