Government urged to stop printing exam papers abroad

The National Action for Quality Education in Zambia has urged government to stop printing exam papers abroad.

Organisation Executive Director Aaron Chansa says the trend does not only manage to export capital and jobs away from Zambia but also denies an opportunity for Zambians to acquire important engineering and printing skills which this exercise would present if done locally.

Mr. Chansa said his Organisation finds the current practice of printing national examination papers out of the country strange and very inimical to skills development and government’s desire to industrialize for job creation.

“We are also aware that printing exam papers abroad is costing the country three times more than it would spend if papers were printed at government printers”, he added.

He said NAQEZ is further aware that at the moment, Zambia and Zimbabwe are the only Countries in the region still printing exam papers abroad and think that this is degrading and an assault to our 54 years of political Independence as a nation.

Mr. Chansa said the practice must be curtailed and allow public resources to remain inside the country for skills development and economic growth.

“We don’t agree with the thinking that Zambia has no capacity to print these papers. To this effect, our organization pleads with the Minister of General Education and his Permanent Secretary to critically consider our call and act in order to save billions of Kwacha”, he said.

Mr. Chansa said once this money is saved, ECZ will enhance security in examination management and Begin to handsomely motivate teachers who invigilate national exams.

He said the council will also be in a better position to pay markers of these exams on time adding that the saved funds would eventually enable the Examinations Council of Zambia to ultimately build its own printing facility for future assignments.

This practice began in 2013 and the desire was to cure the mischief of exam leakages in the country.

Before 2013, the printing was done within the country by Government printers. ECZ at first went to Britain to print exam papers and currently the exercise is done in India.

Exam leakages have now reached catastrophic levels. The suspension of national exams last year by the Minister of General Education stands as a classic example to the escalation of this retrogressive vice.

Education Minister hints at shortening exams period to deal with leakages

General Education Minister David Mabumba says his ministry is in talks with the Examinations Council of Zambia ECZ to revise the exam timetable for grades 7, 9 and 12.

Mr. Mabumba says the long periods that are spent writing exams may also be a reason for circulation of leakages among pupils.

He adds that the curriculum also needs to be revised because certain subjects that pupils are learning are being taught at wrong grades.

The minister also says teacher management will also be reviewed and the challenges that they face will be addressed.

Mr. Mabumba has also urged teachers to start authoring text books for pupils because they understand what pupils need due to the day to day interactions with them.

He says it is better for a local teacher to author a text book in vernacular rather than import such from abroad.

Mr. Mabumba was speaking when he toured some schools in Kafue District and had an interactive meeting with teachers from various schools within the district.