EXAMINATIONS Council of Zambia (ECZ) Public Relations Manager Nicolas Nkhuwa says Zambia was among two countries which managed to successfully conduct examinations in 2020 and 2021 when there were lockdowns around the world.

In an interview, Nkhuwa, however, said there was a slight delay in processing results for the 2021 General Certificate of Education (GCE) examinations owing to the closure of schools.

“During the period of the COVID-19 pandemic that was beginning 2020 to 2021, we adjusted into the new normal in terms of our working operations. We followed the guidelines that were given by relevant authorities. We were able to meet our mandate squarely. We conducted exams at all levels that were scheduled and we released examination results for all levels. So there were minor setbacks. I can point at the GCE examinations that we conducted in 2021 where we had a slight delay in the processing of the results. This is mainly because there was a closure of schools,” Nkhuwa said.

“You know we mainly use these facilities for us to mark our examinations. We also use trained teachers to mark our exams. So when there was that closure, we experienced a minor setback in terms of our processing time. However, we did manage to mark these exams in October and we did release the results for the same exams. So that was the minor setback we experienced. Overall we were able to adjust to the operations and managed to meet our mandate.”

Nkhuwa attributed the successful conduct of examinations to the policies and guidelines put in place in the education sector.

“So overall, there were all these experiences but on a positive note, I can say that we managed to meet our mandate and serve the people of Zambia. During the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 to 2021, there was so much news about lockdowns around the world but Zambia was among the two countries that conducted exams. The other country is Tanzania. This was attributed to the various policies and the guidelines that the government had put in place in the education sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nkhuwa said the Council did not fully close down any of its offices and they strictly adhered to the COVID-19 preventive guidelines.

“We also instituted routine fumigation in all our facilities where we have contact with the public. We somehow had a few incidents of staff getting infected. However, we immediately put them in isolation until they were fully recovered. I cannot say we fully closed down our offices. What we did was that we had routine fumigation exercises. This could happen on days we were expected to be open to the public. So we would actually maybe close for a day to allow the fumigation in our service centers,” said Nkhuwa.

“We gave notices to members of the public that we would be closing. We did not close all the centers at once. So the closure was mainly for fumigation purposes and not because we had experienced any challenges in our operations. There are many centers where we offer services in all 10 provinces of the country. If at all a particular center was closed on a particular day, I do not think the impact was as much as if we did not exist in that particular province. So it was just a slight setback where everyone needed to keep safe.”