Government keen to digitise rural schools

THE government says it is doing its level best to improve conditions in most rural schools through acquiring information technology gadgets (ICT) to bridge the digital gap with urban institutions.

This comes as Covid-19 has brought to the fore the need for E-learning after Zimbabwean schools spent the better part of last year closed due to the pandemic. While urban schools were able to mitigate the effects of the pandemic as they were able to conduct virtual lessons, learners in rural areas were left stranded.

Speaking in the Senate last week, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government has put in place a budget to refurbish schools but the process will not be done overnight.

“There is money which has been put into . . . a budget has been put but we cannot achieve all this in one day. “Education for our children is an issue which must touch all of us as Zimbabweans — if our children fail to go to school, we have failed the generations to come.

“Our country Zimbabwe is known for better education. Those who look on the issue of education, Unesco has rated Zimbabwe as number one in Africa.
“The government has put in place all the measures to make sure that schools’ infrastructure is refurbished.

“We are not only looking at urban schools but also those in rural areas making sure that they have electricity and even the option of them having solar as a source of energy and provision of gadgets like computers and phones. “They should have access to all these gadgets. Even those from the ICT Department should make sure that all schools are connected to the internet so that there is no digital divide between urban and rural schools.

“This is all to make sure that school children get the opportunity to learn.  The government does not want anyone to miss their education, are keen on everyone having access to education “This is also critical because the Second Republic considers that every Zimbabwean is important and there is no one who should be left behind.

“That is why we are making sure that the children in the rural areas also have access to these gadgets,” Mutsvangwa said.

Meanwhile, the Information minister warned teachers charging exorbitant fees in United States dollars for extra lessons to desist from the practice as it is defined as a criminal act. “The issue of teachers demanding money for extra lessons, I think this is now a criminal activity because that is not allowed.

“This is not their mandate and not what they are supposed to be doing. We can never deprive children of the opportunity to learn. “If there are teachers who are getting into class and not doing anything— that is unacceptable because our children are supposed to be learning. “I am sure that the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has inspectors amongst them. I think it is a report that should be brought forward so that such characters are dealt with. We expect those who are supposed to teach to teach,” Mutsvangwa added. – Daily News

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