By Cuthbert Mashoko
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have occupied center stage in the educational fraternity as it has turned out to be the vehicle of teaching and learning.
It is against this background that schools are now required to be adequately equipped with ICT gadgets and embrace the new technology epoch upon us.
The Competence based curriculum which the government of Zimbabwe adopted is premised on the cardinal tenets of equipping learners with skills which makes them relevant in this technological driven world.
While schools have made emphatic efforts in ensuring that learners gain much in attaining ICTs skills, a lot of spanners stand in their way.
Most schools lack in terms of resources needed to fully roll out ICTs programmers. A number of schools do not have Computer Laboratories. Computer Laboratories are more of hubs in the rolling out of ICTs programmes. Apart from that, ICT gadgets are beyond the reach of many schools. This has derailed the schools’ efforts in effectively rolling out ICT programs, a situation which has exposed learners more to theory rather than practicals.
The rural learners are the hardest hit, given a number of drawbacks at their disposal. Most of the rural schools are not electrified making the use of computers impossible.
In some cases were the schools have the computers, the computers have been left to gather dust as their use becomes impossible due to lack of electricity. This digital divide has seen a number of parents transferring their children to urban schools.
While the going had been tough in most rural schools, Rutenga Primary is a point in case one of the few rural schools that has managed to stand head above water as witnessed in the effective rolling out of ICTs programs much to the benefit of its learners.
Though the school is yet to have a stand-alone Computer laboratory, The Boardroom of the State of the Art Administration Block at the school is in the mean time used to conduct ICT lessons.
The school has 40 laptops that enables all learners in a class to have a feel of the computer during a lesson.
The Headmaster of Rutenga Primary, Mr Tennyson Mukapa reiterated the need of taking the teaching of ICT seriously.
He emphasized that a learner with information and communication technology skills can interact at easy with anyone across the globe, hence the need for his school to equip learners with Information and Communication Skills.
The digirati or wired elite School head, revealed that plans to construct a State of the Art Computer Laboratory in the near future were afoot.
Through the rural electrification program the Government has managed to electrify some rural schools, though a lot still needs to be done as the un-electrified schools outnumber the electrified .
Equally important is the need to equip rural schools with ICT gadgets, so as to close the technological divide between the rural and the urban school.
Cuthbert Mashoko is a Teacher at Rutenga Primary school and a Development Studies graduate who writes in his own capacity.