New pre-selection system for university admission

Morocco is moving away from its current university entrance tests from next year, with admission to higher education in future to be primarily based on student performance in baccalaureate examinations using a ‘pre-selection’ system.

Meanwhile, Egypt is searching for an alternative university entrance system based partially on a candidate’s score in a national school-leaving examination as well as a test of student skills and academic ability.

Admission to higher education institutions in Morocco is to be made solely on the basis of performance in the baccalaureate examinations from 2016.

Morocco’s decision was revealed last month by Jamila El-Moussali, minister delegate to the minister of higher education, scientific research and executive training.

El-Moussali indicated that the change would eradicate the problem of “the fairness of the entrance exam”, which was a “real burden for families and the ministry as well as for its high cost”.

From next year, university entrance tests will be substituted with a system of ‘pre-selection’ to grant equal opportunities to students.

To implement the new system, a national database will be set up containing each student’s baccalaureate and regional examination grades. Institutions will accept the students with the highest average grades.

In Morocco, there are two types of admission procedures. In institutions with unrestricted access, such as universities, students can be admitted based on the strength of their school-leaving examinations performance. In institutions with regulated access, such as the specialised grand ecoles, there are commonly competitive entrance exams.

Change in Egypt

At the same time, Egypt has announced that it is developing a new university admission system that will be partially based on a candidate’s score in national school-leaving exams, along with specific measures of student skills and academic abilities, according to an Egyptian education website.

The new system was outlined at a workshop in Cairo titled “Admission Policy in Egypt”, held in cooperation with UNESCO from 9-10 June.

The move is in line with a 2010 World Bank report that recommended “expanding the criteria for student access to higher education by developing initially a test of generic reasoning and thinking skills to complement the national secondary school examinations in decisions on student admissions to institutions and programmes”.

Egypt is reviewing its admissions systems and policies in the light of international practice, identifying criteria for university acceptance that will work for the country’s education system.