DRS Home
DRS News
◄ Back to DRS news

Jul 04, 2014

DRS forges a partnership in Southern Africa to increase adoption of electronic marking in exams

UK-based global data capture specialist, DRS Data Services Ltd, has formed a partnership with Bytes People Solutions (BPS) to expand its international business and increase the uptake of electronic marking in education, particularly in the South African Development Community (SADC). BPS provides online education and learning technologies to the education sector in Southern Africa, with clients including the University of Pretoria and University of South Africa.

Electronic marking is a process where exam papers are scanned and sent electronically to examiners who then input their marks directly into an online system. Examination boards are increasingly using this process as a means to improve the quality of marking and to reduce malpractice and corruption. In the UK, over two-thirds of all exams are now marked on-screen, with all exam boards now using it for a large percentage of their papers, according to a report by UK exam regulator Ofqual.

“The partnership with DRS enables BPS to provide its clients with a complete blended and automated assessment offering,” says Madelise Grobler, BPS managing director. “BPS has been a leader in the e-assessment arena for quite some time through its offering of a best-of-breed e-assessment tool. With the eMarker® solution provided by DRS, BPS is now also able to provide automated support to clients that require paper-based assessments. Combined, these products complement one another, enabling clients to undertake online as well as paper-based assessments electronically.”

In Africa, DRS has already worked with education bodies in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania, supplying its market-leading scanners and e-Marker® technology. In Ethiopia, The Addis Ababa Education Bureau managed to cut the time to process exams online - for 65,000 students - from three months down to less than one month.

DRS said that it decided to work with BPS because of its reputation and physical presence in the SADC region.

“We're delighted to expand our footprint in Africa and work with such a well-established and well-respected local player as BPS, with a proven track record in education and excellent B-BEEE credentials,” said Steve Gowers, DRS chief executive.