EDUCATION AND ICT IN ZIMBABWE
By Eng. Taurai D. Nyarufuka, Harare
November 13, 2018
The importance of ICT in the educational development tends to hold much water since it is an ongoing process which needs legitimate partnership between two ministries so as to promote each other in the main stream development. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should work hand in a glove with the Ministry of ICT so as to better the education system through establishing Wi-Fi networks and introducing Digital Computer Literacy in both Primary and Secondary schools, eLearning packages, online courses and Learning Management Systems just to note but a few. It has been observed that ICT courses and computer courses are done at Tertiary level but it is quite important to introduce them at grassroots level that is primary and secondary schools, hence the learners will be equipped with computer literacy at early stage at the same time being familiar with relevant skills and knowledge in computer literacy. Therefore, the learners will be familiarized in computer literacy at early stage.
The importance of ICT in the educational sector should not be undermined since it takes the center stage and makes the access of educational information easier and deliver through the use of computer accessories and software. The knowledge capture is currently manipulated and accessed through ICT major tools that can make learning processes to be easier as compared to the ancient culture of study. It has also been observed that computer literacy can be possibly introduced at grassroots levels that is Digital Computer Literacy commences at primary level. It has been witnessed by donation of computers at different primary school across the country and introduction of ICT syllabus at primary level. This will help learners to develop computer skills and access educational information through use of internet, researching relevant information with concerns education.
As far as education is concerned, the Ministry of ICT offers technological oriented companies the mandate to provide eLearning platforms and online systems in secondary schools so as to improvise and innovate the sense of computer literacy at grassroots level and easy access to information and proper management of educational study. So the first stage that needs to be attended is the establishment of Wi-Fi networks at both primary and secondary schools as endorsed by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in conjunction with Ministry of ICT in the technological improvement. Since the technological advancement puts the nation in a global village, it is quite comprehensive to improvise the culture of study into the modern one with easy access to information with relevance to education. So through eLearning platforms all electronically devised also support the learning and teaching methods that could be significantly adhered to new culture of study.
It has also been observed that most of the individuals are facing challenges like computer illiteracy at tertiary level being disadvantaged by their background since they would not be exposed to computerized environment. So other tertiary institutions are currently introducing computer courses for the benefit of the disadvantaged learners enrolled to adjust and be able to use computers and share educative information as per arrangement. In respond to the above mentioned problem, computer courses or subjects should be introduced at grass roots level together with the establishment of internet sites and possession of computers at both primary and secondary schools. One might note that education is the key to success at the same time being made easier through ICT implementation tools with their variables enriching the mainstream development goals.
It is quite comprehensive to implement technological devices in the education sector boosting out the sense of inclusiveness, integrity and innovation that will enhance modern study culture as per arrangement. It has been observed that the most of the advanced learners are enrolled to overseas colleges or universities doing different courses while studying online backed up by basic computer facilities. So it will be fair to view the technological advancement as an added advantage to engage with especially in the field of education as a nation at large. Likewise in Zimbabwe, any other education institutions such as universities, colleges, and schools are also prone to engage in such activities by improvising into eLearning platforms, online study packages, Learning Management System just to mention but a few. So this can improve and create chances for other individuals to enroll in distance education while studying at home with an institution through eLearning platform. Therefore this might better up the education system to be easier and accessible without the barriers of geographical locations through the improvisation of technological devices in the education system in collaboration with the ministry of ICT.
It has also been noted that in the education system there are computer devices which can be used as teaching aids used to deliver relevant school work upon learners in a more advanced diversified stance. The computer devices might draw and create more attention to the learners since they brings in a sense of entertaining the study while gaining knowledge as compared to other teaching aids or methods which are too laborious and exhaustive, and the use of computer devices might store educative information without occupying large volume of space. It has also been observed that the use of computer devices like projectors, video playing, power point use and audio play are some of the teaching aids and methods that can easily draw the attention of learners with their interest upon the subject as per arrangement. Therefore, technological advancement in the education system transform the ancient culture of study into the modern day style in an easy way so that it will substitute the archaic way of learning since cultures are not static.
It is quite recommended for the government to put its attention to connectivity since it is a major bottle-neck in Zimbabwe and such initiatives enable the future of education system and our leaders to be exposed to as much as possible through connectivity at the same time providing them with ability to up-skill and educate. Technology is referred to as the powerful tool, that’s connecting us to the world and enabling us to groom “techno-savvy” future leaders. This is why it makes sense to start such initiatives in various schooling systems.
The Ministry of ICT’s work in Zimbabwe is to achieve connectivity through partnership with other ICT oriented partners like ProComm and Frolgate who are using Wi-Fi to improve socio-economic development in the country. One has also noted that Wi-Fi solutions have mainly used in Zimbabwe to improve the education system but our solutions also cater for industries like retail, warehousing, hospitality, health care, and transportation just to mention but a few. Therefore the government should work seamlessly so that the citizens will hope this will lead further projects in Zimbabwe as the Ministry of ICT fights this Zimbabwe digital divide challenge.
One have also observed that the government’s participation is the key to connectivity in as far as education is concerned but they cannot do it alone. It will be better wise for public and private partnerships to be essential and the best approach is to start it small that is school or university at a time. With a classical example of South Africa which have industry players such as “Project Isizwe”, an initiative that aims to provide free Wi-Fi to citizens and learners through Ruckus Wireless equipment. More-so, rolling out free Internet Zone (FIZ) sites at schooling Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Soshanguve for the city of Tshwane project which is in phase 3. Therefore, the initiative started small with one province and is expanding due to the positive feedback and up-to date one thing is clear, as Zimbabweans we are hungry for connectivity especially in the education system.
From the above analysis it’s quite fair to label that Wi-Fi has been dubbed as the best technological option for the schooling system in Zimbabwe. Therefore, it is cost-effective and easy to implement solutions and ubiquitous access to the internet also means that schools in Zimbabwe can take advantage of the best learning practices used globally and tailor it to make it locally relevant and feasible for their school system, hence access to virtually unlimited resources of knowledge becomes available anytime and anywhere. Eventually, our educators and learners can start to take advantage of those resources, probably in ways that we didn’t think would be possible long time ago.
By Eng. T.D. Nyarufuka