By Steven Godfrey Mkweteza

The new independent examination administration council of Malawi {NIAEC} has said it will go ahead with its plans of administering junior certificate of education examination {JCE} in 2017 despite a cold shoulder given to them by the government authorities.

This comes after MANEB officials recently advised the parents, students, school directors, teachers and the general public from associating with the council saying the council has not yet been registered and accreditated by government and aim at duping money from the public.

Director for the council Phyless Tatha Kachingwe said the council will not be moved by the threats from government authorities which she said are aimed at frustrating the initiative.

“Whatever comes may, but we want to assure the general public that we are going to administer the examination starting with JCE in 2017. We are geared, we have put in place all the necessary structures and the resources that require us to embark on administering exams,” she said

Kachingwe said NIAEC was registered by register of companies in October 2016 and has the mandate to administer examinations in the country just like any other company operating in Malawi.

She said the Act that formed MANEB does not forbid any private body to administer examinations in Malawi as stipulated on chapter 30:04 sub section 9 of the Act.

She also said the Education Act of 2013 has some provisions which can help NIAEC argue its case with government.

Kachingwe said so far 14 private schools have confirmed that their examinations should be administered by NIAEC.

“It is our plea to government to respond quickly because if they don’t, they will disadvantage students in public schools whose teachers and headmasters are afraid of embracing these examinations because government has not authorised them. This will have an effect on the enrolment of students to government schools in the future because students in government schools want to write these examinations. Government should work with speed to make a statement on this issue,” she said

According to kachingwe, pupils will have to pay for the examinations as what they used to pay with Maneb, adding” we do not have legal mandate to impose that every school should write the examination, the decision  will come from the parents and students.”

She said depending on the outcome of NIAEC learning process to administer JCE in 2017, the council will start administering standard 8 examinations as well as MSCE from 2018.

In a separate interview, director in the technical department of ministry of education Mr Agabu confirms that his department is still looking into the NIAEC submissions and will make appropriate recommendations before issuing a statement in due course on whether it has accepted the council to administer examinations or not.

Earlier this year, government announced that it has stopped administering junior certificate of examinations {JCE} and primary School leaving certificate examination {PSLCE}, citing finances as the major contributing factor.

However,  a research conducted by the council in 24 out of the 29 districts in the country asking stakeholders about how they feel and the impact of the JCE abolishment, 96% of the respondents stated that they still need JCE and government hurried with the decision.

NIEAC will be the first registered private company to administer local examinations after MANEB which was mandated by the Act of parliament to administer public examination in the country.

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