Government joint venture to acclerate e-learning

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HARARE – International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has partnered with Zimbabwean government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to implement a school connectivity project named the “GIGA” project.

ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said in a speech to mark the 2021 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day which was celebrated under the theme, Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times.

He highlighted the need of enriching Zimbabwes digital space by retooling major facets of the economy in order to bring about requisite agility and resilience, and to deliver greater efficiencies across entire value chains throughout the economy and across the entire nation.

“The project is targeted at connecting every school in Zimbabwe to the Internet and every child to information, opportunity and choice,” Muswere said.

Last year, the government launched the e-learning strategy for schools to complement long established forms of learning and mitigate disruptions to the education sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the minister raised concerns on the widened digital divide gap which is posing challenges in many schools in the country, particularly in rural areas, where data costs are out of reach of many.

To ease the challenge, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) paid for bandwidth for 400 schools across the country since the onset of May to December this year.

“While this gesture should be applauded, I call upon the regulator (POTRAZ) and network operators to look for a sustainable solution to the affordability challenge bedeviling our schools, in particular rural schools,” he said.

The minister said some parts of the country did not have network coverage. He urged the POTRAZ and public network operators to extend coverage to all parts of the country and to ensure the affordability of services for all.

“No one should be left behind in this digital revolution and indeed no one should be left offline.

“Accordingly, the need to pursue a digital transformation agenda is more relevant than ever before,” Muswere said.

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