At the beginning of the month, Ministry of Primary & Secondary Education urged students to make use of eLearning platforms and the time I raised questions regarding how prepared our education institutions were for that kind of learning.
I mean, for the longest of times schools have looked at cellphones as if they were a device only meant to distract students and then overnight they suggest that students turn to those same devices to continue learning? Make it make sense.
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Prof. Amon Murwira also recently came out and said universities have started work on developing content deliverable online;
Our primary objective is to safeguard life. However, we have told our universities to start developing material online for students.Prof. Amon Murwira – Minister of Higher & Tertiary Education
Whilst this is a positive thing the questions I initially had don’t go away – what happens to students who don’t have reliable access to electricity, computers/mobile phones and can’t afford the data to continue their studies?
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) has issued out what they are terming a “total rejection of these e-learning proposals”. ZINASUs full statement reads;
Zinasu position on e-learning
THE environment in Zimbabwe today is a true reflection of the gravity of the prevailing situation the world over. It is a coterie of incompetent leadership, poor governance and the global epidemic of COVID-19.
The students fraternity is especially affected and every student is today disenfranchised like all industries and individuals alike.
The Higher and Tertiary Education ministry and various institutions have proposed e-learning as a means of educating the students.
A very noble idea, indeed, but all factors ignored completely. However, the vast majority of students have no access to reliable electricity and network connections, considering that only 41% of Zimbabwe has access to electricity, as stated by the Zimbabwe Electricity and Transmission Distribution Company and an even smaller share has access to mobile networks.
This demands investments worth billions of dollars to be able to ensure access for all. More so, to those with access to both, electricity and mobile networks, the prices of data are way beyond the reach of many, considering that one webinar costs around $100, which is a good fraction of the earnings of a civil servant.
Now, the position of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) is a total rejection of these e-learning proposals! This is after consideration of the majority of students and their benefactors.Allan G Mawaya – ZINASU Spokesperson