By Joyce Mukucha
The COVID-19 crisis has imperiled progress and impacted a large number of countries and is turning out to be even worse than the critical economic, strategic, and political clashes happening around the world.
The outbreak has and still is impacting all industries, including the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Despite the negative impacts of the pandemic on various industries, the Minister of Information Communications and Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Dr. Jenfan Muswere said due to the social distancing norms and nationwide lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the surge in the use of digital technologies was inevitable.
In line with this, Muswere said e-learning platforms have become significant and urged students and pupils across the country to utilize the digital spaces in as much as conducting their studies is concerned.
In an interview, Minister Muswere said that the various e-learning platforms such as TelOne’s Centre for Learning, Ruzivo Digital, E-Nhava and Akello Edutech among other platforms have become a necessity in tackling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the delivery of education to the majority of students in Zimbabwe.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the social distancing norms and nationwide lockdowns. It must be understood that ICTs are an enabler in the right against Covid-19.
“These platforms have allowed a smooth transition from the conventional brick and motor-based direct contact education system to the adoption of online platforms that ensure that learning continues while maintaining social distancing and safety for both the teachers and the pupils. I would like to therefore encourage students to use these various digital platforms to conduct their research and lessons online,” Minister Muswere said.
In an effort aimed at ensuring universal connectivity, in areas where there is limited network coverage, Muswere said the Ministry and its stakeholders were making concerted efforts to ensure that the communications infrastructure reaches all corners of the country through the deployment of community information centers and the presidential e-learning projects.
“The Ministry of ICT and Courier Services and its stakeholders have also developed a national digital infrastructure Master plan which will allow for the systematic deployment of communications infrastructure across the country to ensure ubiquitous connectivity,” Minister Muswere added.