What Zimbabwe needs to do is to create online platforms for e-Learning which limit the students and users to specific learning programmes and websites
By Lawrence Musekiwa
The Covid 19 pandemic has given a huge blow to many sectors in Zimbabwe and many other countries. The education sector is one of the most disrupted especially in Zimbabwe and other poorer countries all over due to the over dependency on traditional education delivery methods.
The most affected are the poorer students who can’t afford to do eLearning, but before Covid 19 they couldn’t even afford to do researches online because of many socio-economic constraints.
But due to adoption of new technologies, developed countries’ education systems felt a little blow once there were social restrictions because of Covid-19.
Least developed countries like Zimbabwe should promote modern ways of learning and the use of computers for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). Using modern learning ways also comes with their benefits of being cost effective where there is no need to travel to and from school and also they provide timely information.
One of the reason for the falling quality of Zimbabwe’s education system is the unwillingness to adopt new learning and teaching methods such as use of computers and reluctance of shifting away from traditional teaching and learning methods.
The slow adaptation of technology
Sure, change is inevitable in this dynamic world. Covid-19 came with a huge blow for the education sector in Zimbabwe, all over the country students are waiting for resumption of face to face lessons with their respective teachers, but if we had accepted e-Learning we couldn’t be rushing to open the schools in spite of the dangerous virus.
Hope Covid-19 won’t give a final blow to the sinking education sector. One of the reason for the slow adaption of technology in the education system in Zimbabwe is the economic constraints the country has been facing since decades ago.
These hardships caused brain drain across the education sector where teachers fled out of Zimbabwe in search of good pastures.
Slow adoption of new methods of learning is also caused by cost of getting connected to the internet.
Internet costs in Zimbabwe are doubling every time whilst no proportionate increase in incomes of parents and guardians of students is realised.
The cost of getting connected to the internet only will be around 50% of the basic salary of the average worker, so can guardians of the students work only for internet costs which sometimes won’t last even up to a month?
In spite of the drought, inflation and big currency depreciation the family will need to buy food and other essentials thereby reducing the budget for education.
Since access to quality education should be every children’s right, the government should make the ICT equipment like routers, computers and smartphones affordable for students for the easy adoption of new learning techniques.
The average prices of a basic new computers is around $ 300 USD, this is beyond the reach of many parents and many people in Zimbabwe therefore a low adoption rate and use of modern ICT devices.
Delivery of education
The world is embracing the use of 4th industrial revolution tools while in Zimbabwean students are stuck to their traditional and outdate ways of delivering education.
In this time of disaster the government can subsidize ICT equipment for students, so that the underprivileged rural and urban students can be able to go on with their studies uninterrupted.
The government can also create some online platforms for e-Learning which only limits the user to only specific learning websites.
The other solution is also by subsidising the internet costs for learners rather than waiting for a teacher to come face to face and teach. This sector could have been uninterrupted by this Covid 19 if we had taken the right direction.
These solutions do not apply only to the education sector but to other sectors of the economy. Technology adoption will lead to reduction of inefficiencies and will stimulate economic growth. This pandemic should teach us to move away from our traditional ways of doing things and become better as a whole nation.
Zimbabwe should move along with other countries, not for it to be stuck in its traditional ways of accomplishing tasks.
Zimbabweans should be ready to integrate the new technologies into their daily routines to enable cost effective and faster methods of exchanging ideas.
But the government should also make the economic, social and political environment favorable so that ICT equipment and access to the internet is affordable for all.
Lawrence Musekiwa an Accounting student at University of Zimbabwe. Can be contacted on email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Zimbabwe Digital News
Zimbabwe Digital News