Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has commissioned a US$5 million Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) printing press, a development that will improve the security of examination papers and save the parastatal millions of dollars in printing costs.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima commissioned the printing press last Friday in Norton.
In an interview yesterday, Prof Mavima said the printing press will stop examination leakages which costs the nation millions of dollars.
“It’s a programme that we started long time ago but because of limited resources, it was stalled. But we have now completed it. We have the building itself and the printing press which means we are now able to print all our examinations, Grade Seven, Ordinary and Form Six in house. In the value chain of examinations there is a part that now controls our examinations internally which means we can increase security. We have never had problems with what we have done internally for ourselves and we assume that with the printing press in house we will increase security and address the issue of examination leakages,” said Prof Mavima.
Leakage of examinations papers has been a serious concern for Zimsec over the years.
In November 2017, the Ordinary Level English Paper 2 examination had to be nullified after Zimsec discovered widespread cheating.
The High Court ruled that candidates be marked on their Paper 1 performance only.
The scandal resulted in several senior Zimsec officials resigning from their posts.
Prof Mavima said the commissioning of the new printing press will save Zimsec millions of dollars.
He said due to fears of examination leakages, last year Zimsec was forced to print examination papers in the United Kingdom costing the country millions of dollars.
“It was quite expensive for us to outsource, internally in Zimbabwe and outside the country. Last year, because of breaches of security that had happened previously we had to have examinations printed in the UK. That was very expensive and took foreign currency out of the country. Now we are able to save on the costs and we are able to save the foreign currency that we paid to outside printers,” said Prof Mavima.
“Thirdly, our printing press can become a business venture in the sense that we can start printing examinations for other countries. We could also source for some jobs during the downtime when we are not printing examinations internally in Zimbabwe as well. It could end up generating some resources for Zimsec.” — @nqotshili