Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) has embarked on an Integrated Communications and Technology System Upgrading Project that officials say will help curb some of the challenges encountered during the registration of candidates and payment of examination fees.
Maneb has been automating its system to facilitate the electronic payment of examination fees and registration of candidates, which will be piloted next year, and thereafter, for use across the country.
Maneb Executive Director, Gerald Chiunda, said Wednesday that the project would revolutionise the way the board serves students and other stakeholders.
He made the remarks when the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) donated 20 computers worth K17 million towards the course.
“The old system, where we were capturing data manually, had a lot of challenges. For instance, a school would capture information for candidates on paper and take that paper to Maneb so that the information would be captured into the computer. In the process, errors to do with spelling or completion of records were being recorded.
“And, worse still, some school authorities were taking advantage of that to embezzle examination fees from some candidates,” Chiunda said.
He cited 15 cases of fees embezzlement registered this year as an indication that the old system has been prone to abuse.
He said once the old system is fully upgraded, schools will no longer be receiving money as they are in talks with Airtel and TNM so that candidates can be paying through Airtel Money or TNM Mpamba services and the money will be directly deposited into Maneb’s account.
The system will also see students getting examination results through phones as they will have reference numbers.
Macra Communications Manager, Clara Mwafulirwa, said they decided to make the donation since they are Maneb’s partners in the project.
“The computers we have donated will assist them to connect with district education offices when it comes to electronic registration and payment,” Mwafulirwa said.
The new system is expected to be piloted during next year’s examinations.
Most learners in the district, and in particular Traditional Authority Kachindamoto, struggle with reading skills, letter knowledge, alphabetical principles, phonemic awareness, reading fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension. The project will, therefore, help the children to catch up, knowledge-wise,” said Nkhonde.
In T/A Kachindamoto, the programme targets three education zones of Mankhambula, Kapiri and Chikololorele—which have 18 primary schools and an enrolment of 1,591 boys and 5,555 girls.
He also said the project would, among other things, establish 54 reading camp centres at each school,while 54 camp facilitators and volunteers will be trained in camp supervision and material creation.
Dedza Primary School Officer, Sorry Mwale, has welcomed the initiative.
“For a long time, Dedza has been performing badly but we hope that, with such interventions, things would change,” Mwale said.