Minister of General Education David Mabumba has admitted that marking of Grade 12 exams has not commenced, saying the markers were prioritizing the Grade seven and Grade nine examinations.

On Monday, NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili said marking of Grade 12 exams had not commenced due to lack of funds.

“The marking of 2019 Grade 12 exams has still not commenced because the Ministry of Finance has not released funds to the Examinations Council of Zambia to facilitate for the marking exercise. This is the first time in the nation’s history that the marking of exams has not commenced in the year in which the exams were written. Late exam results means late entry into college and university for first year students,” said Kambwili.

But in an interview with News Diggers! Tuesday, Mabumba said the delay was not because of funds, but priorities.

He said Grade 12 results would be announced in January.

“We have three levels of exams and most of the teachers, especially in the sub sector, they participate in the Grade 9 and Grade 12 marking. So they are marking systematically and if you are aware, when announcing results, we begin with Grade Seven, Grade Nine and then go to Grade 12 because you can’t do everything at the same time otherwise you make quality assurance mistakes. So there is nothing like money has not been released that is why Grade 12 exams have not been marked no! People have been busy processing grade seven and grade nine results and doing selections for grade 10 an grade eight so there are the same people who are involved in the same things (marking) so it a question of priority,” Mabumba said.

“Because the grade 12 are not going to go to any [university], if you look at most universities, when is the calendar year of the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University? Most of these, they begin in the third quarter of the year. You will never see a university which opens in January. So for the Grade 12 results in terms of the pressure points, of course the pupils that wrote the exams want their results as quickly as possible but…last year we announced them in January so we are not late and we will announce in January.”

And Mabumba said the delay in announcing the Grade 7 and 9 results was due to technicalities.

“Under normal circumstances, we would have announced the grade eight and nine examinations on 26th December or before depending on how fast people are, but we had other issues. We are just late by a week and we will continue to work hard to make sure that these results are not delayed. And it was because of technical issues, not anything else. They were processed some time back the results have to be analyzed and this is why we are here. It was because of a few things that we were waiting for and we are announcing them today (Tuesday) here in Muchinga Province. So whether we are late or not, it is up to the Zambian people to choose but normally, we announce them to allow the grade eight and nine to open schools with other non examinations classes. Schools are opening on the 12th the children have 14 days to prepare with their parents,” said Mabumba.