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The rate of law students who failed their exit exams trended upward this year.
Capital spoke with representatives at several universities including the University of Gondar (UoG) which has 85 candidates. They had six students fail which is five higher than the past year.
Jigjiga had a whopping 58% of their students fail and Sodo had 25% failure. Four percent failed at Hawassa, and 3.3% at Mekele. Areas where there is unrest appear to have the highest failure rates.
The regular student’s failure ratio reached 3% last year with an increase of the cumulative mark achieved, according to Seid B Mohamed who is a researcher at the Higher Education Strategic Center (HESC). Also, 74% non-regular students failed which has been a concerning issue for the government.
There were a record number of candidates this year, 4,005 students registered to take the exam and 37 lecturers participated in the evaluation.
The exam was given at the beginning of May which is a month later than normal.
“We prepared our students to take the exam at the normal time but the Ministry of Education (MoE) convinced us to extend it,” said Abebe Assefa, Dean of School of Law at UoG and the Chairman of the National Law schools Consortium (MLSC).
Students Capital talked with agreed with Abebe.
“We went to the externship program prior to taking the exam, but previously every law student would start preparing after the end of their fourth year until they take the exam then they will go out for an externship,” said a student.
Also, another student said that the change of schedule also frustrated him. “We missed different classes whenever there are protests and that is not only for the last year but also for the previous three years”.
Tadesse Tilaye and Gemede Banata were at the compound of National Education Assessment and Examinations Agency (NEAEA) to seek if there is any way to re-evaluate their exam.
Tadesse rationalized that the current year’s exam was taken with a month delay and he believes that teachers evaluated the exam in a rush.
“There is no law which allows the re-evaluation, and we are just an executive of different manuals issued by MLSC,” said Yosef Abera, Director at the Agency.
But Abebe said there is no law which prohibits re-evaluation. “The manuals are silent”.
According to the manual issued by the consortium, which is a forum of every school of law deans, last year students which failed to get a passing mark will be able to take the test an unlimited number of times. Previously they were allowed to take it five times.
Seid argues that someone who spends five years in the University must not be sent out of the system because he failed to get a pass mark five times. He said the exam aimed to raise the competence of the students but not to boot out any candidate from the system.
“The decision is made by the deans, which represents the school,” Abebe said in agreement with Seid.
The HESC conducted research on the performance of the exam and concluded that it is meeting its plans. The research also reveals 76% of students who took the exam believe it is necessary.
The exam, which has been given for the past seven years, has four categories: Private, Public, Procedural and Miscellaneous, they review most of the material the students learn during their enrollment.