By Clemencia Hikwa
Information Communication Technology (ICT) education in Matabeleland is crippled by lack of funding and equipment, a top education official has said.
Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Dr Dan Moyo says that ICT studies at primary and secondary level are greatly affected by the shortage of computers.
According to Moyo, Matabeleland has only received a total of 290 computers since the government rolled out its programme to dish out computers to schools.
This, according to Moyo, has led to some students being deprived of the opportunity to be equipped with ICT skills.
“Our schools in Matabeleland have only received 290 computers since 2004. This means that we have to be selective on the number of students that take ICT studies at primary and secondary level,” said Moyo.
The official also mentioned that Zimbabwe has been heavily dependent on donations thus far and that has brought about the snail paced computerisation of primary and secondary schools country-wide.
“Our country only gets ICT equipment for teaching purposes from well-wishers who give them to us at their convenience. We can’t get equipment as and when we want it hence we cannot provide ICT education to the standard we would like,” said the official.
Another contributory factor to the insufficiency of ICT training for pupils in the province is the use of depleted equipment, said Moyo.
In an interview with Radio Dialogue, Moyo said that the equipment currently being used is obsolete and depleted and the province lacks funds to buy newer hardware as they cost up to $660 per unit.
“World links takes older computers and sells them to us at a cheaper price per unit. But even then the funding is still insufficient. 29 schools benefited from the last donation but that is all we have given our schools. We are not sure how we are going to implement changes under such conditions,” Moyo said.
President Robert Mugabe has been in the fore front donating computers to schools around the country.
While the move was commended by educationists, the shortage of qualified teachers has resulted in most of the computers lying idle, according to ICT, Postal and Courier Services deputy minister Win Mlambo who made the revelation while officiating at a provincial career guidance programme and exhibition at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in April.