Rural schools battle ZIMSEC’s e-registration

The introduction of electronic registration for public examinations by the Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC) is a welcome development for many but is proving to be a costly exercise for rural schools.

“We did not have computers and we had to buy a laptop to register students according to the new registration guidelines,” said an official from a school in Mutiusinazita in Buhera.

The director of ZIMSEC, Esau Nhandara, said the system was now fully operational and all the examination centres would us it for the November 2014 registration.

But investigations by The Zimbabwean established that a lot of schools in the rural areas have no electricity and no computers on which to conduct the registration process.

A ministry official from Mudzi in Mutoko said “We are travelling to the district for the registration process because there is no electricity.”

Other rural schools had improvised, with some of them adopting the use of laptops.

“The registration information is supposed to be private and we had to buy new laptops. The initial process is costly because the ministry supplied us with the registration software but everything else such as the computers or laptops to use for the process, we had to buy for ourselves,” added the source.

Electronic registration started last year, a move which saw the abandonment of the cumbersome process whereby candidates had to manually fill in their details on examination registration forms.

According to the new system, candidates’ entry details are captured electronically at their centre. A single disc is produced for the region or province and the disc is then sent to ZIMSEC for processing.

The system is available at District Education offices and cluster resource centres and teachers can go and register their candidates at these centres.

Said Nhandara: “All they need is to take a blank compact disc to any of these offices nearest to them and then register their candidates.

Nhandara said the advantages of e-registration far outweighed its disadvantages considering that data obtained from e-registration was clean and accurate and reduced the time spent on correcting errors.

“The processing of information is faster, efficient and accurate. Reports for verification are readily produced and the system ensures faster updating of information on candidates upon registration on the database,” he said.

“The information is put on disks and then sent to ZIMSEC so there is no need for internet connectivity. It can be done anywhere,” said Nhandara.

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