According to news reports, Computer Aid International has donated 2000 computers to the Ministry of Education.
Education Minister Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa said the provision of quality education requires the application of information communication technology (ICT), especially computers.
The growth of ICT is helping facilitate educational opportunities that will promote economic development for the region and strengthen Zambia’s infrastructure. Programs such as these make it possible for Zambian students to experience a world outside their own and explore new horizons.
As part of the Fifth National Development Plan, the education ministry adopted the use of ICTs many levels to help facilitate education. The computers improve the quality of education for the students and increase equality and efficiency of the educational experience.
The computers were donated by British Charity Computer Aid International as part of their international efforts to bridge the digital divide. The group believes strongly that information technology skills are crucial to an individual’s success (and even survival) in the information age.
While this is another step in the right direction, we’ve still got a long way to go. According to the International Telecommunication Union, less than 1.5% of the population of Zambia owned a computer and just over 4% had Internet access. Compare that to Namibia or Zimbabwe where more than 10% of households have a computer and you see we still have much work to do.
It’s not just about having computers in the classroom. Our teachers still lack their own computer skills. Interestingly, it may be ICTs that help them strengthen their computer skills—through distance learning. ICTs can be used for teacher professional development without requiring they leave their classrooms.
And finally, we must continue to seek foreign investment for our ICT initiatives. Zambia currently still relies too heavily on public finding for its initiatives. Our government simply does not have the money to make the swift progress Zambia needs to increase its educational stamina.
This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of high speed internet deals. She invites your feedback at [email protected]