by WELLINGTON TONI
HARARE, (ITNews Zimbabwe) – ZIMBABWE has intensified a programme to connect its schools into a national information and communications technology (ICT) system.
The development that coincides with schools shutting as part of
government efforts to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread.
The Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services is carrying out the
project that also involves the training of teachers on ICTs.
A total of 20 schools have been connected to the ICT radar from a target of 20.
“It is a phased approach across the country, all-inclusive and also
involves the training of teachers,” Minister Jenfran Muswere said.
The project started in the second city of Bulawayo, with the completion of the connection to the Hillside Teachers College.
The ministry randomly selected the schools from each of the country’s ten provinces.
An emphasis was placed on schools in previously marginalised areas.
The involvement of schools in the ICT is gaining traction in Zimbabwe, dating back to the days the then-president, Robert Mugabe (now late), initiated the project with the distribution of computers in schools.
This is in line with the government’s internationally-lauded commitment to the empowerment of locals through education.
Last year, 30 schools in the eastern province of Manicaland benefitted from a project by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to bring ICT closer to communities.
Plans are underway to expand the project countrywide.
Zimbabwe’s education system has been heavily exposed to the COVID-19 lockdown. Schools were closed in March and it is uncertain when they will reopen.
The uncertainty prompted mobile operator, Econet, team up with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, through their Ruzivo platform, to offer free lessons to students.
The Ministry is currently seized with preparations for the June Ordinary Level (OL) examinations.
Enterprising students have also opened groups on social media such as WhatsApp to share educational material but the high cost of data is a hindrance.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has encouraged universities to develop online lectures.
The Southern African nation has recorded 34 positive Covid-19 cases and four deaths.