LOCAL students will soon access their Ordinary and Advanced Level reading material on the Internet courtesy of a digitalisation programme jointly carried out by the Zimbabwe Academic and Research Network (ZARNet) and several local and international publishers.
BY MOSES MATENGA
ZARNet is the implementing arm of President Robert Mugabe’s e-learning programme launched in Mashonaland East Province and at Landa J Nkomo High School in Tsholotsho in 2012.
“We have established strategic partnerships with local and international publishers which are aimed at digitising our educational content to remove the bottlenecks of accessing hardcopy textbooks,” ZARNet chief executive officer Cliff Mupangavanhu said.
“We intend, working closely, with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, which we are already doing to ensure that the first key digital text books for ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level will be out by year end in line with the recommendations of the Curriculum Development Unit of the ministry. These textbooks will be local ones written by local writers and published by local publishing houses.”
Mupangavanhu added: “Access to vast educational content available online, will also ensure that the country produces graduates with globally competitive skills that will be essential to create a competitive advantage for Zimbabwe in a global economy.
Understanding of global economic ecosystem is key to national development and eradication of poverty in Zimbabwe and Africa.
“Our focus is at the moment to ensure that those schools that are beneficiaries of His Excellency’s Schools Computerisation Programme get Internet connectivity by year end. We will be deploying the cheapest VSAT solution to rural schools and providing solar power to those schools without electricity. Those computers with old software will be upgraded and those that are not working will be repaired. We have set up a mobile computer maintenance unit which will move around the country schools to assess and maintain damaged computers. Maybe we will also be able to retrieve those computers that have been locked somewhere as souvenirs.”
He said by August this year, ZARNet would be launching global digital villages at rural schools, starting in Chipinge which would connect government offices, police camps, research and educational institutions via wi-fi.