In Ethiopia, the education pipeline is broken up into several blocks of academic years, with mandatory exams – often referred to as National Exams – at various points. These exams are required in order to pass on to the next level.
Students enter grade 1 at age 7, and two 4-year blocks of elementary education make up the mandatory education. After completing grade 8, students take a National Exam prior to progressing to the first cycle of secondary education. Students again take a National Exam at the conclusion of grade 10. Those who score highly are able to proceed to “secondary preparatory”, which is the path to University. Those not meeting the minimum score for preparatory education are able to proceed to TVET where they train for several years to learn a trade skill.
The government provides students with an academic path in University based on results of their grade 12 national exam. Students may choose an alternative career path by supporting themselves through University.