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.