HARARE, (The Southern African Times) – The Zimbabwean government has entered into a partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to implement a school connectivity project named the “GIGA” project.
“The project is targeted at connecting every school in Zimbabwe to the Internet and every child to information, opportunity and choice,” ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said Monday in a speech to mark the 2021 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.
Last year, the government launched the e-learning strategy for schools to complement traditional forms of learning and mitigate disruptions to the education sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the minister said many schools in the country, particularly in rural areas, were facing challenges in funding their e-learning programs due to the high cost.
To mitigate the challenge, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) had decided to pay for bandwidth for 400 schools across the country from May to December this year, he said.
“While this gesture should be applauded, I call upon the regulator (POTRAZ) and network operators to look for a sustainable solution to the affordability challenge bedeviling our schools, in particular rural schools,” he said.
The minister said some parts of the country did not have network coverage. He urged the POTRAZ and public network operators to extend coverage to all parts of the country and to ensure the affordability of services for all.
“No one should be left behind in this digital revolution and indeed no one should be left offline,” he said.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the importance of ICTs in driving economic growth.
“Accordingly, the need to pursue a digital transformation agenda is more relevant than ever before,” he said.