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Ethiopia - Ministry of Education revises certification rules
By Kirubel Tadesse
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The Ministry of Education (MOE) of Ethiopia has issued a new directive stating four major qualifications graduates of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutions (10+3 TEVT or diploma) should meet in order to join degree programs.
According to the new directive MOE distributed to stakeholders including governmental and non governmental university presidents and regional vice presidents on Friday December 28, 2007, graduates of 10+3 programs first should have completed grade 10 in the current or 12 in the previous education policy.
Earning a higher grade in the National Competence Certification exam which will be prepared for graduates of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutions is also a must. The competence certification will be designed as per Occupational Standard of Ethiopian industries and National Competence Certificate will be given for students who pass the assessment.
The certificate aims to recognize one’s knowledge and skill which one can acquire formally in educational institutions or informally through years of practice.
“For those who have the skill and the experience of doing technical work, we should not say that you have to pass through Entoto TEVT in order to certify them, so this certification can serve as the reference for these people who can be very productive in the industry. And for those who completed their education in institutions, since the one their respective institutions give them is only completion certificate, this one will determine their skill and grade of competency which will serve them and the industry by making it easy who to choose to hire or upgrade,” explained Mberhatu Berhan of MOE.
He adds that the certification process will be started this month with the orientation given for interested applicants who wish to take the exam which mainly focuses on practical queries. Two hundred examiners are scheduled to be trained in the coming weeks by professionals from abroad and exams in four subjects; insurance, purchasing, accounting and marketing will be the first programs in Addis Ababa. “The certification exam is for all, whether they attended 10+ programs or got the skill through experiences,” stressed Mberhatu.
The third qualification for 10+3 TEVT or diploma graduates is to come up with two years work experience in the profession they took the competency exam for and finally to pass national entrance exam which will cover preparatory students (10+1 and 10+2) lessons. The directive states that even if one is not obliged to come up with any document showing that he or she took the bridging courses, passing the exam is a must to get in to universities for degree program.
MOE had previously banned any form of admission of 10+3 graduates to the degree level program back in November 2007 and Dr. Sintayehu Welde Michael, Minister of Education, promised to come up with the directive as soon as possible to include last year’s graduates and this new directive was issued for more than 21 universities last Friday.
Some experts told Capital that the new directive is discouraging for students since it requires for them to sit for two national exams of which, one demands taking bridging courses which its contents will be set by MOE and also demands a minimum of two years work experience which will be difficult for students to acquire.
Following the November ban of upgrading students from 10+3 to degree program, private colleges had expressed their concern claiming that the decision might endanger their survival since the capacity of government to accept degree students is increasing, implying that there may not be enough students to join their degree programs. They explained that if they can no longer upgrade their 10+3 graduates, their degree program classes can be closed and that will lead to the total closure of their institutions.
Now after receiving the new directive, Assistant Professor Wondwosen Tamrat, founder and President of St. Mary University College, disclosed some reservations members of the Ethiopian Private Colleges Association have on the new directive. Wondwosen stated that during the discussion with MOE on the directive draft, members explained that the two years minimum work experience is too difficult for students to acquire. “The reason behind most parents’ wish to send their children to higher institutions so that they study degree level programs is because they can’t find jobs easily,” explained Wondwosen, “and putting a minimum of two years experience mandatory requirement in order to join degree program might discourage students from planning to continue their education.”
Desalegn Mulaw of MOE disagrees with the comment, claiming that the qualifications allow only few but best students to join the degree programs which will in the long periods result qualified professionals. “We only want those who are best from the 10+3 graduates to pass to the degree programs which government universities may accept if there is available space”, sates Deslagen, “Ethiopians need more middle level graduates than degree holders.”
MOE disclosed that the new directive will not be applicable on pervious diploma graduates of agricultural institutions and it is effective for all other programs of educational institutions in Ethiopia as of Friday December 28, 2007.
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