The National Educational Assessment And Examination Agency (NEAEA) had been starting in 1950 to provided different national Examination in different names and levels. Since 1950, all examination result documents had been documented in hard and soft copies in the agency’s office. National examination such as the Elementary school promotion Examination, the General Certificate Examination “Ordinary Level” (GCE O level) of the university of London and the experimental phase of the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate Examination( ESLCE) were introduced, for the first time, in to the Ethiopian education System in the 1940’s. And the responsible body for such examination was then Ministry of Education and Fine Arts (ESLCE Office Hand Book, 1985). According to the ESLCE Office Hand Book (1985), there was no ESLCE before 1950.
Beginning in 1950 the ESLCE began to be administered, on an Experimental basis, in conjunction with the London based General Certificate Examination (GCE), Ordinary (o) level. The GCE was then the preferred credential. The GCE continued to been given for six years after the ESLCE was established as an independent, external, national achievement examination. The ESLCE soon became a grade twelve leaving examination and a certificate to be presented for Admission in to institutions of higher learning.
By 1950, the Ministry believed that it had sufficient and relevant experience to take full responsibility for conducting the ESLCE and for issuing results acceptable to national institutions of higher education over the world, and to national employers. Thus the Ministry of education and fine Arts discontinued sponsoring candidates for the General Certificate Examination of the University of London.
Since the ESLCE had been the content and pattern of the GCE up to 1959, a major factor that prompted the decision to suspend and to eliminate the GCE, was the restriction this Examination placed on changes needed to make secondary education relevant and appropriate to Ethiopian conditions particularly in history, geography, and science. Before the elimination of the GCE however, even Amharic had to fit the GCE syllabus.
Functions of the ESLCE
The ESLCE Office Hand Book(1985), stated that, the results of Examination were the means by which students were selected for the various kinds of further education, training and employment. From its experimental inception in 1950 to its placement by the current Ethiopian General secondary Education Certificate Examination (EGSECE) relatively permanent and decisive status, the ESLCE had been assumed to perform, among others things, the following functions.
According to ESLCE Office Hand Book(1985), candidates sat and still do sit for as many subjects as they desired, but for admission in to higher education institution, minimum grade of “C” was required in English, Amharic and Mathematics and any two other subjects up to 1977. Amharic was dropped as a compulsory subject after 1978, making the number of compulsory and optional subjects, required for admission, two and three respectively. That was to say that English language and one of the mathematics subjects were compulsory; all others are optional.
Prior to the establishment of the then University College of Addis Ababa (now part of Addis Ababa University), questions were set variously. Between 1950 and 1959, high school principals wrote the examination questions. Sometimes high school teachers were also involved. A committee made the final decision on passes and fail marks. The result of all this was lack of uniformity and standards to which schools, students and parents objected; this objection led to the establishment, later, of a central Examination Board.
Up to 1977 the Examination questions were all subjective; that was, essay answers were required in all subjects. The essay type examination in each of the subject contained a maximum of fifteen questions to be attempted in a maximum of three hours. The examination Office provided rubber-stamped answer sheets or booklets. The ESLCE then emphasized specific facts, definition of terms, concepts, rules, principles and laws. Some aspects of comprehension by ways of various forms of translation, interpretation and interpolation were also include(ESLCE Office Hand Book, 1985).
With the great increase of the number of examinees taking the ESLCE, the format of the examination was changed from the subjective to an objective type in 1977. The aptitude test was dropped in 1974 and all other subjects were maintained. The period after 1978 was one during which problems of examination halls, seating arrangements, invigilators, registration and examination centers the issue of certificates assumed a different scale. New rules and regulations had to be written and old ones to be revised to fit new situations and conditions.
Between 1950 and 1977, the essay answers were manually marked and graded first by selected high school directors and/or teachers and then by the teaching staff of the Addis Ababa University or its predecessor. The manual marking and grading did not pose a serious problem when the number of candidates was fewer than 10,000.
Since the ESLCE change in to multiple choice test format, marking the objective multiple choice answer sheets had been by use of an optical mark reader, and up to date an efficient of handling objective multiple choice papers. Some machine marked papers were re-marked two or three times when the office personnel detect abnormalities. Such papers were also checked manually against punched answer keys.
Each subject was marked and graded independently of other subjects. Marks and grades were given on the basis of student’s performance. They had absolutely nothing to do with the admission requirements and vacancies of Ethiopian institution of higher learning under the then Commission for Higher Education (CHE). The CHE sets its admission grade point cut off points only after the marking and grading is completed.
Organization and Admission of the Examination
The organization and admission of the ESLCE had assumed several forms. The examination was first a responsibility with the then Ministry of Education and fine arts. Then an examination section was opened in 1956 in the Ministry and the ESLCE Office was one of the responsibilities of this unit. In 1972, a National Examination Board was set up within the Ministry of Education to administer the grade 6 and 8 Examinations. The Ministry was responsible for both the GCE and the ESLCE. With the opening of the University College of Addis Ababa in 1950 and because of the special relationship that existed the college. While the Ministry continued to provide funding for the Examination, the University College of Addis Ababa took over the technical aspects.
Both institutions were represented in an Examination Board which was responsible for the general policy matters of the ESLCE. The chief policy making body was the ESLCE Examination Board of which the director of the ESLCE Office was the Executive Secretary. The Board was made up Ministry of Education personnel directly connected with secondary education and appointed by the Ministry of Education, and University subject area experts obtained by the University president. The ESLCE was charged with complete administration full control of the Examination. Officers of the University or the Ministry of Education played little or no part in the administration of the Examination.
The Director of the ESLCE Office was appointed by the University president. A permanent staff was assisted the Director on a full time basis. Some of the major activities of the ESLCE Office include:-preparation of the Examination regulations, selecting and appointing chief examiners, getting the Examination paper written, screening educational documents of candidates, registering of candidates, printing the Examination, controlling and distributing the Examination, processing of grades, certificates and issuing certificates, establishing Examination centers and attending logistics therein, reporting about the Examination, issuing of copies of certificates on request, and keeping records of examinations. The Federal Democratic Republic of Government of Ethiopia Education and training policy (1994), stated, a national organization of educational measurement and examination will be established to provide central professional guidance and coordination as well as to make the necessary expertise available. Thus, in 1997, National Organization for Examinations (NOE) was established under Ministry of Education (MOE) because of different reasons such as to make the management of examinations centralized, to equip the organization with the necessary man power and technology (Annual Magazine,).
The Ethiopian General secondary Education Certificate Examination (EGSECE) started to be given in 2000 and the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate Examination (ESLCE) Was terminated in 2002. In accordance with the provision of the New Education and training policy a new examination for higher education entrance, the Ethiopian Higher Education Entrance Qualification Examination (EHEEQE) was introduced in 2000. Recently by the Council of Ministers Regulation No 260/2012 the organization is reestablished as National Educational Assessment and Examination Agency (NEAEA). The objectives of the agency includes, determine students who are eligible to be promoted to the next level of Education through the administration of national exams, making equitable students placements with regard to students admission to public higher education institutions, as well as conducting educational assessment to evaluate the education system and assist the relevant regional office in developing their capacities. According to the Council of Ministers Regulation No 260/2012, powers and duties of the agency includes; administering and ensuring the confidentiality and safety of national exams; identifying subjects eligible for national exams and up on approval implement same; conducting educational assessment on the basis of analysis of the results of the national exams and continuous assessment; based on educational assessment findings and regional and international best practices provide professional assistance and advise the relevant regional organs; establishing and administering a center for the safe custody of the results of national exams and issue certificates of exam results to examinees; make students placements in public higher education institutions by taking into account the interests of the students, their exam results and the institutions; intake capacities, collecting service fees in accordance with the rate approved by the government; own property, enter in to contracts, sue and be sue in its name; and finally undertake other related activities that are conducive to the attainment of its objectives.
Regarding its establishment, though the National Educational Assessment and Examination Agency as an autonomous federal government office having its own legal personality, it shall be accountable to the Ministry of the Education. The Agency has restructured its activities in to five core processes, two supportive processes and four units to change the inefficiency and ineffective performance. The new structure has five directorate/ core processes, two supportive processes, and four units.
Power and duties
The Board shall have the powers and duties to:
- Issue working guidelines on the administration of national exams, educational assessment and placement of students; and follow up the implementation of same;
- Deliberate on subjects identified as eligible for national exams and, upon approval by the Ministry, follow up the implantation of same;
- Ensure that grievance procedures are established to handle complaints against the service delivery of the agency.
Powers and Duties of the Director General
- The Director General shall be the chief executive officer of the agency and shall, subject to the general directions of the Ministry, direct and administer the activities of the agency.
- The director General shall:
- Exercise the powers and duties of the agency stated under article 6 of this regulation;
- Employ and administer employees engaged in support services of the agency in accordance with the federal civil service laws and, in the case of employees engaged in the core functions of the Agency, in accordance with directives approved by the government following the basic principles of the federal civil service laws;
- Prepare and submit to the ministry the work program and budget of the agency, and implement same upon approval;
- Effect payments in accordance with the approved budget and work program of the agency;
- Represent the agency in all its dealings with third parties;
- Prepare and submit to the ministry the performance and financial reports of the Agency.
- The Director General may delegate part of his powers and duties to other officers and staff of the Agency to the extent necessary for the efficient performance of the activities of the Agency.