The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) says it has completed constructing a printing house and will soon buy a multi-purpose printing press as it moves towards closing exam leakages. 

The in-house printing press is among measures, a majority of them Information Communication Technology (ICT) related, the examination body is implementing to curb recurrent leakages and improve efficiency. In an interview on the sidelines      of the ongoing Association for Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA) conference at Elephant Hills Resort, Zimsec director Esau Nha-ndara said numerous strategies are being piloted.

“In terms of leakages, we have come up with an in-house printing facility concept and we have completed construction of a printing building. We are now in the process of purchasing a printing press that can print and package with minimum human interference,” said  Nhandara. He said buying of a printing press is still at the tendering stage but they hope everything will be in place before the end of the year so that Zimsec could start printing examination material internally.

He further said, “Zimsec has been printing some of the material locally and had moved the printing facility from Harare to Norton as a security measure. The challenge has been with Ordinary Level where they outsource material because of volumes, as there are over 400,000 candidates annually. The goal was to improve monitoring hence the need to standardise security, with an e-logging facility whereby examination papers will be simultaneously opened through a signal operated from one central place on the cards.

Asked whether Zimsec would in future consider outsourcing services of the police to handle examinations, Nhandara said they had considered the idea but learning from other countries, concluded that intellectual security is better than physical security. E-logging will enable us to package, store and open using a remote as we improve monitoring. With examinations, what’s important is intellectual security more than physical security.

He commended the uptake of ICT by schools and examination centres which he said would go a long way in ensuring security of examinations.

More than 400 experts from 27 countries are attending the conference which ends tomorrow under the theme: “Promoting holistic development through innovative educational assessment initiatives.