By Ambrose Gahene
The Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) has acquired a state-of-the-art printing press.
The First Lady and education minister, Janet Museveni, commissioned the new equipment at the UNEB Printer facility in Kyambogo recently.
The Indian-made equipment will be used in printing examination papers and answer booklets.
“I am pleased to commission the modern Web Offset Printer for the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) Printing Press”.
“This printer was procured by the Government of Uganda; under the Uganda Post Primary Education and Training (UPPET) Programme, implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports to enable UNEB build printing capacity”, she said. She in addition said; the printer will be able to make some money and deal with some of the financial challenges.
“UNEB now has a fairly large capacity for printing services and should indeed be able to offer these services to other education institutions,” she pointed out.
She expressed gratitude to the board for crafting a plan for the printing press to generate money. The minister also said the new printing press will accord the examinations body, more control over examinations.
She further said; this is in line with the NRM Government’s Manifesto, which has emphasized the use of ICT to improve efficiency in production and service delivery.
According to UNEB executive secretary Dan Odongo, the new printing machine can print as much as 70,000 copies of examination booklets in a space of an hour, although manufacturers recommend 35,000. He added that; the old printing machine; which UNEB has been using since it started printing examination questions and answer booklets over ten years ago, could print about 10,000 copies per hour.
The old printer was acquired through a $2m World Bank loan, and UNEB started operating a printing press in 2002.The web offset printing machine has been acquired at $3.8m which was allocated under the Uganda Post Primary Education and Training Programme.
“With the new printing press, UNEB will no longer have to pay other firms for printing services”
“Although we have been having a machine, it was printing at a slow speed and some could be printed outside our printing facility. But now we are going to have full control over our exams and be able to offer printing services to others at a fee,” he said.