by WELLINGTON TONI
HARARE, (ITNews Zimbabwe) –THE legal action tertiary students have lodged against the Zimbabwean government highlights the digital divide afflicting the country as it embarks on a campaign to adopt electronic learning (e-learning).
E-learning has emerged as the most feasible way against the rising threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Midlands State University (MSU) scholars have dragged the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education to the High Court seeking a reversal of the order to colleges and universities to develop online lectures to cover the gap left by the closure of the institutions.
The students have enlisted the services of the Wintertons Legal Practitioners to challenge the order by the minister, Prof. Amon Murwira.
Students have argued that there is a general lack of internet access, equipment like laptops, the high cost of data is prohibitive and a number of underprivileged students from rural areas would not be able to access this form of education.
It is believed only about 9000 students from a total of 25 000 can only access e-learning.
They further argue that insufficient consultations were done prior to the order from the Ministry.
This despite MSU Director of Public Relations, Miriam Mawere, previously assuring the online programme would target underprivileged students.
While there are tensions between tertiary students and their parent ministry, the transition to e-learning at the primary and secondary school level is progressing well.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, in conjunction with Higherlife Foundation, a Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa initiative, has forged ahead with plans to put 1,5 million students under their programme.
Schools are due to open in phases with tertiary institutions restarting on June 1.
Ordinary Level examinations have been set for June 29.
Zimbabwe, at the time of publication, has 56 cases and four deaths from COVID-19.