I’m sure between last year and now, you have at some point heard of the Community Information Centres (CICs) which are a project by POTRAZ through their Universal Service Fund (USF). The CIC project is being carried out in a bid to further the knowledge and appreciation of ICT throughout the country.
CICs are mainly focused on serving the ‘underserved and unserved’ communities as far as ICT is concerned.
POTRAZ partnered with Zimpost and the Ministry of ICT and Cyber security in order to establish at least 210 CICs around the country. The CIC installation program is meant to be complete by the end of June 2018.
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Prior to the official launch of the program, 12 CICs were installed as part of the pilot project. Thereafter, more CICs were installed between the period of November 2016 (when the program was officially initiated) up to date, making the total number 84 (according to the DG of POTRAZ though the ICT and Cyber Security website says 87 while the POTRAZ website says 83). All these have been scattered throughout the 10 provinces of the country.
So what are CICs?
Community Information Centres are “public places where people can access computers, the Internet and other digital technologies that enable them to gather information, create, learn and communicate with others while they develop essential digital skills”.
CICs comprise of the following:
- Renovated or constructed building
- Furniture for housing of computers, server and other equipment
- Internet connectivity through Optic Fibre or VSAT which is then accessed via cabled LAN and Wi-Fi.
- 10- to 32 Computers Per CIC depending on the Size of each CIC
- A minimum of twelve(12) computers for the training room including a projector and whiteboard
- Printing, scanning and fax facilities
- Gaming facilities Play station, ancillary equipment and related screens for children to learn decision-making skills.
Who can use CICs?
CICs are open for everyone.
People utilise CICs in various ways, from downright serious business to recreational uses. The list of the CIC components above should give you an idea of how you can personally make use of it.
CIC Training program
Basic computer appreciation and skills are taught at the CICs. Each course lasts for 5 days with each session lasting for 2 hours. However, since the training is open for all (no prerequisites required), that period might not be enough for some hence the need to establish a special class, which POTRAZ is looking into.
So far, CICs have attracted participants from various sectors from vendors, traditional chiefs to school students. According to POTRAZ, 8 114 people have been trained since the 23rd of Oct up to date throughout the country. There are 3 training sessions per day for five days a week, each lasting for 2 hours as mentioned earlier on. However, because of the increase in demand for training by students, Saturday sessions have also been introduced.
Apart from the training sessions, all the other services attract a fee, quite nominal though; but then again, that depends on the location of the CIC and the availability of cash in that area otherwise nominal might not be so nominal.
Nonetheless, the CIC innovation is a good initiative, even better when more CICs are established.