Yonas Biru, PhD
Tribalism is primitive and degenerative by nature. It brings savagery out of perfectly fine human beings. That much has been recorded throughout human history. Professor Berhanu Nega’s contribution to human development is providing evidence that tribalism stupidifies and ደነዝifies.
In 2022, nearly 900,000 Ethiopian high school students took college entrance standardized tests and only 3.3 percent got a passing grade of 50/100 or better and qualified to enter college as freshmen. In other words, 96.7 percent failed. What has not been reported is what percent of the students got a grade of “F”. Mind you the passing grade is 50/100. In most universities 50/100 is at best the bottom floor for a grade of “C” or at worst a “D”.
In the past, each tribal land was allowing students to cheat or even providing them with cheat sheets including answers to the tests to help them enter college that is financed by the federal government. The problem was so rampant that three days before the test, the government had to cut connections to the internet throughout the nation to mitigate sharing of the cheat sheets.
In 2022, the new minister of education (Professor Berhanu Nega) made it difficult to cheat and the results bore witness to the systemic stupidification and ደነዝfication of the entire next generation.
As dismal as it is, the 3.3 percent passing rate is not the most important story. The most important stories are in the details. Ethiopians need to see two separate detailed reports by region.
- Regional test results, showing what present of the students got A, B, C, D and F before 2022 and in 2022.
- Percent of students who passed the standardized tests year by year before 2022 next to the 2022 results.
In my mind the only way this level of the stupidification and ደነዝification of the entire next generation can be explained is by the primitive and degenerative inherent nature of tribal politics. We need detailed data to show this. I would venture to predict two outcomes:
- Regions where tribal extremism ran rampant will fall near the bottom of the totem pole in the first data set.
- Regions where tribal extremism is normalized will register proportionally less students in the 3.3 percent passing cohort in the 2022 results.
If Professor Berhanu Nega makes this information public, the parents of the next generation students will speak up and save their children from the vagaries of tribal politics.
Laundering the Failed Educational System with Political ፀበል
The problem Ethiopia has is that the universities and colleges have capacity to accommodate 130,000 incoming freshmen. If only the students who passed their exams are accepted, there will be 100,000 empty seats.
Considering the capacity of existing universities, the solution Professor Berhanu suggests is accept 130,000 students into two groups. The nearly 30,000 students who scored a grade of “50/100” or above will enter college as freshmen. The remaining 100,000 or so will be expected to take college-level remedial courses for a year and those who passed will start as freshmen next year. There are so many problems with this.
- Many of those who passed with the minimum 50/100 or close to it need remedial courses.
- As to those who got below 50/100 possible including those who possibly got grades of D or even worse, accepting them into college in any form is rewarding miserably failed students.
- Those in the pipeline (currently in high school) will not perform any better next year and the year after and the year after that. Assuming the problem is deeply rooted and affects elementary schools, we cannot assume the problem can be fixed in the next 10 to 12 years.
- The problem with poor pre-college education is attributable to poor education by regional governments. Is the federal government expected to finance five years of college education for the coming 10 to 12 years, incorporating a remedial year just to fill empty seats with failed students?
How can a nation that is governed with such policy of sustaining a failed system of tribal politics expected to develop? If there is a need for remedial courses, let the regions who screwed up the students pay for it and let the students retake college entrance examination next year. For now, the best solution is to close some of the low performing colleges and universities and focus on the 30,000 who passed their exams.
The recommended remedy to fill empty seats with failed students is a political decision to conceal the systemic stupidification and ደነዝfication of the entire next generation.
Put in the vernacular, trying to remedy a totally failed pre-college education with a one-year remedial college program is no better than putting lipsticks on the proverbial pig. Tribalism with lipsticks still remains primitively degenerative. All else is a cruel satirization of an already satirized generation.
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