THE Zambia Union of Teachers (ZNUT) says the introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) subject in primary schools is a source of worry for rural pupils who do not have access to computers.

The Ministry of Education has made it compulsory for pupils in primary schools to learn ICT although the move is not supported by adequate facilities.
Apart from a lack of computers and electricity, many teachers in rural schools are said to be so incompetent that they would need lessons before teaching their classes.

ZNUT general secretary Newman Bubala told the Sunday Times in an interview that some pupils in rural areas would be forced to learn theory while those in urban areas would have an opportunity to learn both theory and do practicals.

Ultimately, the divide could be a big disadvantage to the pupils in rural schools.

“We are all talking about ICT, but pupils are learning theory. By the time they will come to have their laptops, it will be something else,” Mr Bubala said.

He said the Government should think of investing in rural schools so that each student could have a laptop.

“The Government should seriously think of investing in, and making sure that we flood the country with what we are saying, otherwise it will be difficult to implement the policy for rural schools,” Mr Bubala said.

Mr Bubala said that ICT lessons would not be a success unless there was electricity and computers were made available in all rural schools.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Education spokesperson Hillary Chipango said the ministry was aware of the problems that pupils in rural areas were facing in the implementation of the new policy.

Mr Chipango said the ministry was working hand-in-hand with the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) to ensure that all the schools in rural areas were electrified.

He said that pupils in areas where there was no electricity would be learning theory for some time until their schools were connected to the power grid.

Mr Chipango said the ministry was aware that the subject was new and pupils would be writing exams in the subject for the first time.

He said some teachers were also undergoing retraining so that they could be able to teach both practical and theory, while other teachers were yet to be employed.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. I saw an article on watchdog about this. That teacher was more sensible than the gentle put together. For the first time I agreed that education is in a mess. Mr dull Chipango, u would have done well to keep quiet. What u have just said is proper foolishneees! Pupils will be learning theory fo now hahahaha! And how will they right the practical exams this year. And will all rural schools be electrified this year. You are dalu sir

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  2. People need to be serious You are who you are because you can read and write. You can learn anything once you have the basics of reading and writing then you can learn ITC etc.START BY MAKING SURE ALL CHILDREN ARE ABLE TO READ AND WRITE AT AN EARLY AGE. .
    Reading books are a priority. You can distribute your laptops etc but if a child cannot read what next? The media should go on the ground and visit all the schools and get the truth.

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  3. Pa Zed mulantekunya.You can be talking about this subject,now,at this times and age.Many countries there in Africa have had ITC from primary school,many,many years ago. A small country like Swaziland can be above you in this regard ,shuwaa.Fimo tulebako serious.

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  4. One day a muzungu walked into an office & found our guy playing solitaire on a desktop. The muzungu asked our guy if he was computer literate. Our guy quickly answered yes. Then the muzungu asked our guy what he was able to do with a computer & our guy went blank.
    I hope our guy’s idea of computer literacy is not what we mean by ICT. I agree with Mulenga Kasonde.

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  5. Put your priorities right. Disburse electricity countrywide first to avoid teaching it selectively.

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  6. Start with empowering teachers on teaching ICT. Fund the grid and provide computers otherwise this is just a dream or someone else wants to benefit from donated laptops.

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  7. Two approaches here: first, harness and enhance Schoolneg (or whatever you call it) initiatives. I once drove a program to successfully source computers for one rural school there… Second, look at alternative sources of power. Why are we still talking about the grid when solar electricity sources have been defined and refined thus far? Most of you don’t even know you can forget ZESCO bills by putting panels as well as water heaters on your existing roofs… It is time to innovate and not time whine. Guys!

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  8. Both Mr N Bubala (ZNUT), and Ms H. Chipango (Govt) must think outside the box to find a solution. And as a matter of fact, the solutions have been there for years as follows,
    1.) Solar panels and solar pads, some portable and open and unfold like a brief case, have been in existence for many years now. Some Gadgets even have built-in mini solar panel. (e.g. I have had a calculator since 1991 with a built-in mini solar panel and it still works as good as day one)
    2.) Don’t just think bulky Desktops and Laptops. Think iPads, Tablets and smart phones and other portable smart gadgets which have been in existence for years.
    So, blaming lack of ZESCO Nation Grid in these areas, and focusing on Laptops only is just a LAME EXCUSE to do nothing, and insulting peoples’ intelligence.

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  9. But who came up with the idea of introducing ICT in Zambian primary schools in the first place, without doing a feasibility study or a concerted needs assessment? You dont just dream up such huge programmes with equally huge ramifications on the education system. As someone has already observed, we’re likely to witness a very huge disparity surge between urban-based and rural-based pupils in this regard. Go back to the drawing board, and do a serious re-think, gentlemen (and women)!

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  10. Talking about a rural school child only being disadvantaged may not be completely true. Even some urban school children may be victims of this haphazard ICT policy. A teacher in Chipata compound always consults me on a weekly basis on what she needs to teach because she has very scanty knowledge in ICT. My nephew at a school in Chongwe has been learning computer theory for the whole term despite the school having electricity and some computers. If his uncle was not giving him some hands-on experiences he would have been disadvantaged too. A lot needs to be done before implementation of this ICT policy in Primary schools.

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  11. I have to understand that the whole education system has been on pilot since 1991. when are we going to have a clear police direction on education. Does it mean that our planners are rotten and they cannot think and plan any more?

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  12. Comment:i have ready all the comments ….now.is the implementation of ict going to work or it will fail….am coducting a research work over the teaching of ict in primary schools…concrete objectives needed to fold ahead and help our nation…

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