Warning: We are in election season!
In a speech at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) in Buenos Aires in Argentina, the Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Hon Supa Mandiwanzira stated that the government is on a roll to connect 1 300 schools to the Internet.
On a separate note, according to the minister (Hon Supa), there is a major Information Communication and Technology (ICT) infrastructure project underway. The project seeks to massively roll-out broadband across the country though the construction of over 500 units of towers and extension of the national backbone fibre network. Currently, it seems promising since the groundwork has already been completed.
Therefore with that in mind, the promise to then connect 1 300 schools to the internet sounds feasible, just not sure how long it will take to then implement it (for all we know, it might take longer than a lifetime).
This initiative of connecting schools to the internet comes in handy as we join in the move towards serious digitisation. Yes, clearly we are. Why else would we need a whole new ministry dedicated to Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation?? (This is in no way meant to sound sarcastic!)
Nonetheless, the question now would have to do with the hardware on which the students can then access this internet.
It’s one thing to have the internet but it’s another to be able to access it. In urban areas that might not be too much of a problem since Minister Dokora is pushing for students to have access to their laptops, smartphones, tablets and the likes during school hours. Of course that by no means ensures that all students will have access but it’s better than in the rural schools were most will depend on the school’s hardware, if any.
Therefore to solve this problem, there has to be a rollout of hardware as well. Though of course this too comes with its own challenges such as students never really getting the chance to use it or the hardware wearing out within a relatively short period of time as has been witnessed over the years. Maybe it’s time the government joins Itai Shumba in coming up with innovative solutions such as making use of mobile computer classrooms?