By Lusekero Mhango

Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB) has opened its first regional office in Mzuzu City as part of decentralizing its operations.

Speaking Sunday during the office’s opening ceremony at Luwinga in Mzuzu, MANEB Executive Director, Gerald Chiunda, said their 2016-2021 strategic plan contains establishment of two regional offices in Mzuzu and Lilongwe as one of the activities.

“We are opening the Mzuzu office because we managed to identify a place to house our office and this is the reason Mzuzu is the first and we will also open another one in Lilongwe,” Chiunda said.

He said the opening of regional offices is in line with the spirit of decentralization and public sector reforms to take services closer to the people that government is championing.

“We have had cases where, for instance, someone wants a document of K1, 000 from MANEB but they had to travel all the way from Chitipa to Zomba spending K40, 000 in the process,” he said.

He said the regional offices will be offering logistical services while technical ones will still be offered at the head office in Zomba.

“Mzuzu Office will offer services such as submission of information for registration, production of identity cards, queries relating to the identity cards, inspection of examination centres and briefing of examination administrators,” Chiunda explained.

“Obviously, we are helping people to cut on costs and time and we are putting up efficiency,” he added.

Director of Inspectorate and Advisory Services in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Raphael Agabu, said the regional office will enhance speedy communication and service delivery.

Education Division Manager for the North, Towera Msiska, hailed the opening of MANEB office in the city in Northern Region, saying it will ease the challenges officers at her education division were facing to travel to Zomba.

“Officers used to spend a lot of money to travel to Zomba where, sometimes, did not get prompt help due to congestion at the national office,” Msiska said.

MANEB was established by an Act of Parliament in 1987 to administer examinations in the country and since then it had its offices in Zomba only.