Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe School Examination Council (Zimsec) will from this year print all its exam material following the procurement of a $5 million printing press, amid calls to accord the council high security status.
Speaking to members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education during their familiarisation tour of the Zimsec printing press in Norton yesterday, the organisation’s director Mr Esau Nhandara said this latest development was meant to reduce cases of examination paper leakages.
He said the council has already started handling its own examination papers and last year they printed 52 percent of all Grade 7 question papers and all advanced level papers except question papers involving maps.
“This year we have given ourselves a big task. We want to handle all the question papers that is Grade 7, Ordinary and Advanced Level examination papers,” said Mr Nhandara.
He said while the printing press was going to reduce the number of players who handle the examination papers, the organisation has also intensified its surveillance systems including installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) at the plant.
He said Zimsec was looking forward to make its first payment for the printing press this quarter and complete it by June this year.
He said the printing press, which is the third of its kind after South Africa and Nigeria, is expected to start printing November examinations and has the capacity to print about 50 million papers per month.
Mr Nhandara, however, said there is need for Government to consider according Zimsec a national security status for extra surveillance.
“When people look at Zimsec they look at it as an examination authority out there and that is that but in terms of its operations it affects the whole nation so we want it to be accorded a national security status,” said Mr Nhandara.
He said Zimsec was confident that the printing press would reduce the number of leakages as fewer people would be involved in handling the papers unlike in the past when the examination papers were printed by a third party, passing through many people who could facilitate the leakages.
He said they were hoping Treasury would not renegade on the release of the foreign currency to procure the machine.
Mr Nhandara said Zimsec has already began to market itself both locally and beyond boarders on printing services and countries such as Namibia and Lesotho have already shown interest.