Zimbabwe's e-learning programme transforms rural schools

By Staff reporter | 07 Jun 2019 at 20:09hrs
THE government's e-learning programme which is funded through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) universal services fund has transformed schools in remote areas, businessdaily has established.

Zimbabwe introduced the e-learning programme a few years ago in an effort to make the country a regional information and communication hub.

Speaking during a tour by portfolio committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) various school heads across the country testified on benefits brought about by the "Connect a school, connect a community project".

Zimuto High School headmaster Harris Mashava said the e-learning programme presents a wide range of studying skills which in turn makes learning a lot more interesting to the pupils and a lot better to the teaching staff. "We want to thank government and (Potraz director-general Gift) Machengete for choosing our school, we now have a 100 percent pass rate in the computer science subjects , even when there is no power, the laptops can still be accessible and the student to laptop ratio has gone down," he said.

Zimuto students charmed legislators when they made a presentation of a system they developed. Potraz head of consumer affairs and publicity George Manyaya said the regulator is striving to bridge the digital gap and ensure that all corners of the country are connected.

"It's exhilarating and humbling to get feedback and testimonies of how the universal services fund has managed to capacitate marginalised communities in the face of rapid technological changes.  "The e-learning programme has seen over 10 000 schools in under-serviced and underprivileged areas countrywide receiving computers and other electronic gadgets," he said.

"What we are witnessing here at Kushinga Secondary School is a template of the connect-a-school, connect-a-community project which has benefited several schools across the country.
"We will continue to initiate projects that assist in bridging the digital gap and ensure that no one is left behind in this fourth industrial revolution."

The week-long tour which started on Monday will see the committee visiting various schools which benefitted from the programme around the country. Trevor Saruwaka, the Mutasa South Member of Parliament said there was need for government to continue investing in new computers in schools.

"From what we have witnessed so far, some schools are failing to maintain computers while others are doing a great job. The other challenge is that some schools are struggling to pay for the Internet services due to high demand and the skyrocketing of prices," he said.