Editor's Comment

This is way to go

THE decision by Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) to stop printing statements of results and instead issue them electronically, is highly commendable and must be encouraged.
This will not only save ECZ K4 million annually, but will also save the students time and money.
This is a step in the right direction as the country moves towards achieving its SMART Zambia vision of embracing e-governance in service delivery.
ECZ director Michael Chilala said the 2018 examinations were the last to use manual statements of results.
“This innovation of accessing results online by candidates will help reduce on costs which ECZ had been incurring to purchase paper and print results. On computer paper alone, the council was spending about K4 million annually to have the statements printed,” Dr Chilala said.
Indeed, this is progressive and must be supported by all well-meaning citizens.
Needless to say, time has come to embrace new technologies in the way services are delivered.
There is need for all service providers across all sectors to move with times.
For instance, there is no justification for ECZ to continue spending K4 million on paper when the results can be accessed electronically.
Making the statements of results accessible electronically does not only save on cost of paper but time and productivity of employees.
In cases where pupils have to access printed statements of results from respective schools, it puts pressure on the school authorities, who are forced to abandon other duties.
This takes away from productive hours, thereby affecting the output of school authorities in other important duties.
Subjecting pupils or indeed parents to go to schools to collect the statement of results also comes with transport costs, which may not be affordable to all.
Making the statements of results accessible electronically allows for flexibility in terms of when one can access them.
Many are the times that pupils and even parents have been inconvenienced after visiting schools only to find that school authorities are not there or are busy attending to other duties.
However, with electronic accessibility, people will no longer worry about spending more time than necessary waiting for school authorities to attend to them.
People can access the statements of results from their gadgets and in the comfort of their homes or wherever they may be.
This is progress!
Looking at the amount being saved, K4 million is a lot of money that can be channelled to other needy areas.
It is a known fact that through the national budget, various sectors are allocated funds according to the available resources and not needs.
In most instances, the money allocated is not proportionate to the needs.
In such cases, respective sectors will do well to exercise financial prudence by cutting unnecessary expenditure.
Commendably, this is what ECZ is doing.
Apart from saving huge sums of money, going paperless is good for the environment given the devastating effects of climate change due to deforestation.
Delivering services electronically also reduces physical interactions, which are at times a recipe for corruption.
While delivering the statement of results electronically is good, it has its own risks which ECZ must look out for.
ECZ must ensure that these results are secure and only accessible by the right people.
Organisations who are presented with these documents must also take it upon themselves to verify them with relevant authorities.
This is because we are living in an era where people are sophisticated and can doctor results or print out fake ones altogether.
However, whatever the case, we cannot run away from new technologies.
Everyone must adapt to avoid being left behind.
Slowly, we are headed there with most transactions such as banking, shopping, and money transfers, among others, being done electronically.
Government set the pace for paperless operations by conducting Cabinet meetings using electronic gadgets.
This e-governance is also being implemented in various other sectors, and e-voucher is one of them.
Even though e-voucher has had challenges in its implementation, it is certainly a good start and step in the right direction.
Let other institutions across all sectors emulate and deliver services electronically.
There is no need for people to go and queue up for National Registration Cards, licences, passports, and payment for services when such can be done electronically.
It is time for all to embrace e-governance for efficient and cost effective service delivery.

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