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An Act of Parliament established the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) in 1983 to set and conduct examinations and award certificates to successful candidates. Before this enactment, the Ministry of Education and Culture under the Examinations Section used to conduct the examinations. After the enactment, the section continued to perform the function of conducting the examinations while simultaneously developing an institutional framework and job descriptions.
The full launch and operationalisation of the Examinations Council of Zambia was in 1987 as a semi-autonomous public institution (Parastatal). Prior to the establishment of the Council, the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate in the United Kingdom was the examining and awarding body.
The syndicate’s examinations catered for many countries and consequently, it was not easy for such examinations to reflect the needs of Zambia. The country was subject to the curricula, syllabi and regulations of the syndicate with little say in the general policy of the syndicate examinations. In view of this, it became necessary to reach a decision to localise School Certificate examinations. Consequential to this was the need to develop capacity in the construction, administration and marking of examinations. This gave rise to the establishment of the Examinations Council of Zambia.
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The main functions of the Council as stipulated in the Examinations Council of Zambia Act, No. 15 of 1983 are to:
- To conduct examinations
- To process the results;
- To award certificates and diplomas to candidates who pass examinations conducted by the council;
- To carry out relevant research in examinations;
- To advise any public institution on the development and use of any system of testing or examining when requested to do so;
- To formulate syllabuses for examinations; promote the international recognition of qualifications conferred by the Council;
- To approve or reject appointments of examiners;
- To organise training courses, or arrange for the training of, examiners, markers, supervisors, invigilators and other persons connected with examinations;
- To invite any person or body in or outside Zambia to assist the Council in the conduct of examinations.