The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Three Years No Zimsec Certificates - Thousands Cry Foul

ORDINARY and Advanced-Level candidates have not been receiving their certificates from Zimbabwe School Examinations Council since 2010 amid calls for the council to set up its own printing press.

Government contracted a British firm to process the certificates.

Zimsec has no capacity to produce documents with high security features.

The certificates, however, take time to come out.

Certificates for 2010 have just been released.

This has made it difficult for thousands of school leavers to secure employment and pursue other careers.

Most firms and colleges do not accept results slips, which do not have security features.

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Lazarus Dokora yesterday said Government should capacitate Zimsec to set up its own printing press.

He said the printing press would help clear the backlog and produce certificates on time.

"It is always good for someone to have a certificate the year results are released, but when you are on contract with others, your control over the timelines is tenuous.

"Government should capacitate Zimsec to construct its own printing press because if the situation remains the same, that problem will never end. A printing press will reduce costs of printing for the entity."

Deputy Minister Dokora said all certificates should have high security features, hence the decision to have them processed outside Zimbabwe.

"It is always good to put in place measures to avoid the duplication of the certificates by some people," he said.

Zimsec secured a stand in Norton to build a factory for a printing press.

Progress has, however, been hampered by a lack of funds.

Zimsec director Mr Esau Nhandara said 2010 O-Level certificates were released recently to the Zimsec provincial offices while those for 2011 were still being processed.

"People might not be aware that we recently released the November 2010 certificates because of the holidays," he said.

"We know we have a backlog and it is our hope that by the end of January we will have released the certificates for 2011."

Mr Nhandara said Zimsec was issuing out confirmation of results letters to those who wanted certificates for various reasons.

"The confirmation is done free of charge because it is not their fault that the certificates have failed to come on time," he said.

Interviewed candidates said it was difficult to get employment without an authentic certificate.

"I have been shortchanged because I cannot get a job because most of the companies have told me to bring original copies of my certificates.

"No prospective employer would have time to verify the results slips with Zimsec," said Mr Johannes Runesu.

Some said the confirmation letters were difficult to get.

"When they talk of confirmation of results slips one would think they are easy to get yet you sweat for it," another candidate said.

"Some people would have travelled for long distances but still fail to get those letters."

Zimsec has faced a lot of challenges in the past years and has also come under fire for failing to put in place adequate security measures during examinations.

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