It’s Been a Big Year for our AJ Girls- A Focus on Education
Many of you are enjoying summer break right now, and your kids are home from school. Our AJ Girls are on summer break, too! In Ethiopia, the academic year runs from September to June. However, the school system in Ethiopia looks a little different than here in the United States.
According to the current Ethiopian education system, primary education lasts for eight years (age group 7-14) and is divided into two cycles: basic education (Grades 1-4) and general education(Grades 5-8). Upon finishing 8th grade, students are required to take the National Primary School Certificate Exam. It is what allows them to move on to secondary education (or what we call high school.)
Secondary education is divided into two cycles: the first (Grades 9-10) is called general secondary education and the second (Grades 11-12) is called preparatory secondary education. At the end of 10th grade, students sit for the Ethiopian General Secondary Education Certificate Examination (EGSECE), and are then streamlined into either an academic or a vocational/technical track, based on the scores they receive. Students who meet or pass the cutoff score set by the government will attend the two-year college preparatory education (grades 11-12). This is a big deal in Ethiopia, and the pressure is high to meet the required national exam grades to attend grades 11-12.
It was a big year for education at the AJ Home. All our AJ girls were preparing to sit for either the 8th grade Primary School Certificate Exam or the 10th grade Ethiopian General Secondary Education Certificate Examination. These national exams determine the trajectory of students’ later years of school. For our 10th graders, the numerical scores from the national exam they recently took will determine whether they move forward to the 11th grade in high school, join vocational school, or stop going to school and enter the workplace.
Since September 2017, our girls have been working hard in their class coursework, as well as preparing for the national exams they took at the end of this last semester. The exams were comprehensive and very difficult, yet our girls prepared themselves as much as they could, making the best of all the additional tutoring made available to them through the generous donations of our AJ Champions and supporters! Towards the end of the last semester, the girls received additional days of tutoring and extended hours of preparation. It was intense, they worked hard, and we are so proud!
Now we wait. Their exam results should be available to us by September 2018. But the work is not done. Our girls will be taking summer enrichment classes to continue to hone their English, computer skills and life training skills. Keep the AJ Girls in your prayers this summer, as they continue to work hard in the area of education!