By Nomalanga Makwelo
Government has approved implementation of the first phase of the National e-learning strategy for the next five years.
This was revealed by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services , Monica Mutsvangwa , during the post cabinet media briefing on Tuesday.
The e-learning programme seeks to enhance the use of ICTs in the education sector despite the geographic location and economic circumstances. Under the programme 1 500 schools will be connected to the broadband, with 434 first having to be connected to the electricity grid in addition every school in the country is expected to have a laboratory which has 41computers,a projector, printer ,server and white board.
“The success of the online learning initiative for rural communities will be premised on the expansion and upgrading of the broadband infrastructure, the acquisition of standardised gadgets for schools, the development and delivery of content, a federated content hosting approach to optimise and cut down on the cost of access; the importing of basic digital skills to educators (capacity building) and the availability of resources for the roll-out of the programme.
In ensuring the success of the programme,the minister stated that it had engaged the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe(POTRAZ) to provide gadgets to schools in the country.
“The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe will continue to provide gadgets to schools, particularly in the rural areas, under the Connect a School-Connect a Community Programme formulated by the International Telecommunications Union.
TelOne, NetOne and the Zimbabwe Academic and Research Network (ZARNET) will also be capacitated to play their part in providing connectivity to schools and tertiary institutions,” she said.
Schools in rural areas are also set to be prioritized under this new initiative, with the success of the project in this area being measured according to the expansion and upgrading of infrastructure, development and delivery of content and the acquisition of standardized gadgets in schools.
Government’s announcement of the e-learning programme comes when schools prepare to open next week on the 15th of March for examination classes with the rest opening on the 22nd of March after closure for months due to the covid 19 pandemic.