ICT policy to assist rural Matabeleland schools

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

AN information communication technology (ICT) master plan to be called SMART Zimbabwe 2030 is on the cards and is expected to solve connectivity problems at schools in Matabeleland and other provinces in the country in order to bridge the ICT gap between rural and urban communities.

This was revealed by ICT minister Jenfan Musvere last Thursday during the official opening of a community information centre (CIC) at Bulu Secondary School in Plumtree, Matabeleland South.

The SMART Zimbabwe 2030 master plan, seeks, among other things, to exploit the potential of ICTs in the country, and will complement the Zimbabwe National Policy on ICTs of 2016.

“The Master plan, once fully rolled out, will completely transform government processes, services and management, and make information access and service delivery more efficient,” Muswere said.

“Again, the master plan, with the flagship projects to pilot its implementation, will steer the march towards the digital future that will transform the country to a regional technical hub, raise the country’s competitiveness and align the country in line with vision 2030’s ICT goals.

“The ICT 2016-20 policy articulates the aim of providing connectivity in all schools in order to bridge the urban–rural digital divide, and to enhance teaching and learning through the use of technology,” he said.

Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) director-general Gift Machengete said the Bulu secondary school CIC was modelled using the Connect a School-Connect a Community concept.

“Arrangements can be made for community members to use the facility in the same manner as they would basic CICs without disrupting studies at the school,” Machengete said.

The telecommunications regulatory authority is setting up CIC through the Universal Services Fund (USF) to ensure that ICTs are extended to marginalised members of the communities in Zimbabwe to bridge the digital divide.

“Such projects aimed at advancing ICT access and use in rural and marginalised areas are essential for national development…initiatives such as the Bulu High School Computer Laboratory project which is strategic in ensuring the digital divide is bridged and everyone is at par in the digital economy,” he said.

Potraz has so far established 12 CICs in Matabeleland South province.

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