With almost 3 weeks after the ended ‘Southern African ICT for Education Summit 2012’ that took place in Victoria Falls, we take time to review a few of the ‘hot concerns’ raised. However for your perusal, all presentations held are available for download from the African Brains site The event saw 12 ministers along with delegates, educators and interested people from around Africa, (though mostly were from Southern Africa) come and discuss issues pertaining to ICTs for education. Indeed ICT has changed our way of doing things and no doubt education is part of this, hence the need for such a gathering and what a great timing – the beginning of the year.
The first day saw the current Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kundishora explain the role of ICT’s in the education sector with respect to the WSIS (Geneva 2003) and how Zimbabwe perfectly fits in this plan. He addressed the progress the ministry has done to date. I will not bore you with the details however what stands out from the achievements is the establishment of a 40-seater lab model for schools which was implemented last year at Chogugudza Primary School in Mashonaland East. Dr. Kundishora further stated how this will act as the standard and will be rolled out to more schools in the next two years.
Coming a bit late, but this is still a step in the right direction. Take note that the year the 1st phase of the WSIS was implemented, 2003, Zimbabwe was already under economic crisis, moreover towards the end of the year, Zimbabwe walked out of the Commonwealth Inflation was already on the rise and to invest in ICT education when the basic man was struggling to earn a decent meal was slightly far-fetched.
We applaud the idea and eagerly wait for such developments nationwide. In his speech Kundishora also highlighted awareness of the current electricity shortages, and explained that the ministry is looking to alternative solar energy to power ICTs in rural areas.
The South African representative elaborated how there is a need to skill the young people in terms of ICT; this is also supported by the Cape IT Initiative (CITI) program introduced in 2010 which offers ICT training to graduates. Mr Masimirembwa, CEO of E-Learning Solutions, explained that ICT’s are seen as another subject to learn as compared to using the technologies to learn other subjects. This no doubt limits the full potential of ICT in educational settings. This therefore puts (good) pressure on the teacher who should be well versed with certain tools and applications to a greater extent.
All in all, judging from the presentations a lot was discussed and we hope that this wasn’t just about touring the awesomeness that is the Victoria Falls but a moment to reflect on were Southern Africa’s ICT Education is at the moment and were we intend to go and more importantly how we get there – taking into account the different social, political and economic situations of the countries represented.