ALTHOUGH it was on the eve of school holidays, the coronavirus pandemic, which has had a devastating effect worldwide, had an immediate impact on the education sector, with all schools forced to close earlier, while delayed reopening cannot be ruled out.
By Nkosilathi Lesley Ngwenya, Our Reader
This incident, thus, reminds us of a need to turn our schools into technological hubs so that in future, they are better able to withstand the effects of such natural disasters, without severely affecting learners.
However, the need for transforming the education system in Zimbabwe comes despite the emergencies brought about by the coronavirus pandemic as the use of technology in schools remains relatively low and most schools exhibit hostile attitudes towards the use of digital technologies.
This manifests itself in random raids and confiscations by teachers of smartphones and laptops from students who dare to bring these digital gadgets into school premises.
Although it is possible to justify such behaviour, limited use of digital technologies and smart gadgets has prevented schools from tapping into benefits and conveniences made possible by the use of such technologies in the education delivery systems around the world.
The examination delivery system administered by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council also occasionally comes to the spotlight with question paper leaks and answer scripts that go missing enroute to the markers’ desk.
This causes a lot of anxiety for students who, in the interests of preserving the integrity of the examinations, are sometimes forced to retake these examinations.
Recently, the examination registration process itself has come under scrutiny, as the process requires the physical presence of the student/parent to facilitate the registration process, a scenario which is inconsistent with social distancing and lockdown orders.
All this points to the need to embrace digital technologies to transform and upgrade our education delivery system to reasonable standards consistent with competent modern-day education delivery systems globally.
Technology should no longer be viewed as a good option to consider, but should rightly be seen as a key enabler in positioning our schools as competent educational institutions providing world-class education standards.