ZIMBABWE is “just setting into an information communication technology revolution” and has set a 2015 target for all schools to produce school leavers with the requisite 21st century skills to play a part in the worldwide digital economy, President Robert Mugabe said on Friday.
Launching the government’s e-learning programme at a newly-built school in Matabeleland North, Mugabe pledged his government’s commitment to put computer technology at the heart of the school curriculum.
“Comrades and friends, the speed of global technological and economic transformation demands that we move abreast of other developing countries if we are to derive the full benefits of the ICT revolution and turn the digital divide into digital opportunities for the nation,” Mugabe said.
The schools e-learning programme was launched at Chogugudza Secondary School in Mashonaland East last March, and Friday saw it shift to the southern region with the launch at the Landa John Nkomo High School in Manqe, Tsholotsho.
Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa said it was their vision that every school in the country – both secondary and primary – must use computer technology by 2015.
“Our agenda is benchmarked on 2015, we have a digital programme that by 2015 Zimbabwe should be fully on the digital platform, we are building a knowledge economy and our citizens must be digital natives,” Chamisa said.
“All schools ultimately are going to benefit, we have in excess of 8,000 schools countrywide and I am working with David Coltart [Education Minister] who is the implementing minister and the President to see this programme through.”
Under the programme, the ICT ministry will give out computers to schools, train the teachers and provide maintenance through the government-owned technology company, ZARNet.
The ministry also works hand-in-hand with the Rural Electrification Agency to ensure power – both solar and electric – is extended to all schools countrywide.
“We have a standard agenda on ICTs,” Chamisa went on, “as you may know ICTs are becoming part and parcel of teaching tools. Gone are the days when teachers used chalk board and duster, now you need PowerPoint, Keynote and projectors... that’s the direction that this country is taking. We are moving from mere pedagogy to webagogy.”