PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister, Lazarus Dokora has called on parents to take the lead in buying computers and other required educational materials, as the government is cash squeezed and cannot provide such.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Dokora told Senators on Thursday that the government was committed to e-learning at primary and secondary schools, but lack of financial resources hampered efforts to ensure a ratio of one-computer to eight learners.
“We expect parents, and we urge them, because part of the resources that we are deploying through the mobilisation of school improvement grants for instance, they also go towards helping in securing some of these tools, but the parents must take an active decision to assist their schools,” Dokora told Senators.
He was responding to a question by Senator Tabeth Murwira on how far the Primary and Secondary Education ministry had gone in distributing computers to schools, particularly in rural areas, “since we want to enhance our children’s education”.
“But, the Honourable Senator would remember that the computerisation programme was initiated by His Excellency the President, [Robert] Mugabe some 15 or 16 years ago when he began that process of donating computers to schools.
Subsequent to that series of donations and perhaps continuing alongside that series, the Ministry of ICT here represented have also extended a helping hand to my schools, particularly in the last year.
“The third source is quite clearly the parents themselves and the corporates who contribute as part of their social responsibility. We desire that when computers are donated to schools, the ratio of one computer to eight learners be used as a yard stick or benchmark because that is the kind of minimum benchmark used by Unesco.”
Mugabe launched the schools computerisation programme over a decade ago, donating desktop computers to rural schools.
Critics of the programme laughed out loud as stories emerged that some of the beneficiary secondary schools did not have electricity to fire-up the computers.
The project was written off as part of a long-list of Mugabe’s populist hare-brained schemes aimed at hoodwinking the gullible rural population.
Further soiling the project were reports that some unscrupulous teachers and other support staff were stealing the gadgets.