Eritrea’s School Leaving Examination Kickoff

Today, March 18, 2024, the Eritrean Secondary Education Certificate Examinations (ESECE) began to continue until 25th March in various testing centers established throughout the country including in the Eritrean community schools in Jeddah and Riyadh.  According to Dr. Bisrat Gebru, director of the testing center, 30,779 Eritrean students are partaking the examination. The number of students attending matriculation hits the highest record in Eritrea and female constitute 50% of the examinees. The examination includes 12 fields of study and 60% of the examinees are regular students from Warsay Yikealo Secondary School Sawa and technical schools.

Eritrea, for the past decades, has witnessed the expansion of education at all levels including secondary and tertiary education. The enlargement of the secondary education has increased the number of eligible applicants at tertiary level. Students are required to take and score a passing mark in the Eritrean Secondary Education Certificate Examinations (ESECE), a standard examination given to high school students who have completed grade 12, to attend the tertiary level of education. The standardized examination is designed to help in achieving education policy goals that is selecting quality students to pursue higher learning.

In Eritrea, after high school, students must take ESECE at the national level to enter higher education institutions. ESECE is a standardized national examination under the auspices of Testing Center operating under the National Higher Education and Research Institute. One of the major goals of the examination is preparing students for higher learning through identification and selection according to their talents and abilities.

Students are selected by their academic achievement and the colleges as autonomous institutions set their own entrance requirements. Specific subjects and levels of achievement are required as prerequisites for entry to individual colleges. College entrance requirement is clearly linked to the national school leaving examination and performing national duty. Eritrea’s higher education institutions serve and enrich society in many ways and their role in the ongoing development projects is multi-faceted. Eritrean colleges, although confronted with various challenges, have carried out various responsibilities since the time of their establishment. They are acting as tools of socio-economic development by fulfilling the role of training professionals, extending the frontiers of knowledge, and serving the national economy.

The educational system of Eritrea includes five years of elementary, three years of middle school and four years of high school education. Through the twelve years of education Eritrean students are required to sit for two national examinations. When students complete grade 8 they are given a national examination to enter high school. After they enter high school education, students may choose to join technical and vocational schools after completing grade 10. Then ESECE is given for students who have completed grade 12 and students are accordingly admitted to the various institutions of higher education at degree and diploma levels on the basis of the grades they earn.


Written by Simon Weldemichael

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