from SUKUOLUHLE NDLOVU in Masvingo
MASVINGO – MASVINGO Provincial Education Director, Zedious Chitiga has reported marked progress in the electrification of rural schools.
He said the institutions were being electrified in a bid to boost the adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Lack of power in the schools has been blamed for the slow uptake of ICTs.
“The ministry (of education) is doing all it can to make sure the rural schools are electrified, to curb the challenge of electricity so that we smoothen the progress of ICT in the rural areas, though there are other schools that do have internet, electricity and computers,” he said.
He noted these rural schools that had electricity had the advantage of being located near growth points.
“We now have E-Books for the schools in the rural areas as the thrust is for ICT to be a cross cutting area which all the children in schools must be exposed to,” said Chitiga.
Lack of equipment in the schools is also another challenge Chitiga identified.
He said not all schools had computers to use and other parents could not afford to buy personal laptops for their kids.
“On the same issue of challenges, there is the issue of manpower to teach ICT in schools. There is a lack of teachers for this and the Ministry is recruiting suitable qualified teachers,” he said.
He added that these challenges have led to a gap between the rural and the urban schools even though some other rural schools were way better off than other schools in the urban areas.
“Electricity is the way to go for rural schools as we try to industrialise, we need the energy for ICT to be a reality in these schools,” he said.
Chitiga said that all rural schools could make ICT a reality and this only depended on what they prioritised as a school.
“…….then this now depends with (on) the schools whether they do want to push for the electricity or not. But so far there is progress in the province and we are yet to announce the schools that have made developments in terms of tubing and paying connection fees (to REA).
The headmaster of Maringire Primary School, Tevera Tyanai said that they were prepared for the challenge to adopt ICT at his school.
“For now the only thing that is delaying us is electricity, we do have Wi-Fi here but we hope that in a few days to come we will be having electricity.
“We have been using a generator so that the kids can be able to learn. As soon as the new curriculum was introduced we made sure we did all we could and we managed to tube two blocks that are going to be used.
“It is sad that our kids are learning ICT theory and not practical lessons. It is difficult to learn something theoretically and then try to implement it practically because we do not have computers at the school for the children to use,” he said.
One primary school teacher, Mitchell Phiri also shared the same view with Chitiga.
“In the rural setting the equipment is quite limited, only a few computers and one teacher for the whole school to teach ICT,” she said.
“Some schools do not even have computers or standard computer laboratories. At the school l teach, there is Wi-FI but the school cannot afford to subscribe. So the facility is rarely used to benefit both learners and teachers. Some schools do not even have qualified personnel to teach the subject, so the teaching is not up to standard and they end up hiring people with IT certificates who are not qualified to teach,” she said.
– CAJ News