HARARE – The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) this week took its broad mission to ensure Tsholotsho among other marginalised districts in the country are fully connected to e-learning and e-government.
Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North province is one of the districts in the country which has for many years suffered from network connectivity, in the process leaving the poor villagers disconnected from the global village.
While Potraz had in the past set up a base station in Dlamini area, such areas as Pumula had remained neglected with villagers being forced to climb trees and mountains just to make a telephone call.
As a result, the telecommunications regulatory body was left with no option but to commit to boosting telecommunications connectivity in the district.
Potraz head of marketing and international relations Sibonginkosi Muteyiwa said the telecommunications regulatory body was engaging the Tsholotsho Rural District Council for land to construct towers to boost network connectivity.
“The significance of the eLearning project is to ensure that every government department is connected in terms of ICT. The ICT’s are a critical element of economic development. We want everybody to be connected so that we are all part of the global economic system,” Muteyiwa said.
“We are not only doing this in Tsholotsho but everywhere to ensure that everybody regardless of where they are situated is connected in terms of ICT. We have also engaged the local authority so that they provide us with a site at a reasonable price so that we can put up a tower to ensure that the people of Pumula village are also connected to the world.”
Muteyiwa noted that the project fell under the Universal Services Fund.
In line with their mandate, Potraz on Thursday last week handed over ICT equipment such as 25 laptops and 4 multi-purpose-industrial-printers to Sipepa Hospital and Tsholotsho School of Nursing, Tshino Primary School and Dlamini Secondary School as part Potraz’s e-learning and e-government drive.
Potraz board vice chairperson Sibangumuzi Khumalo said despite the assistance by Potraz, there was a huge gap in the e-learning drive that has to be covered.
“It is very important to me that we received such assistance from Potraz. There is a huge requirement for these gadgets in the district and perhaps with time and resources permitting Tsholotsho will be able to catch up with other areas,” Khumalo said.
“Our wish is to see more schools and clinics receiving the ICT equipment. We want to ensure that there is development in our community; that we are not left behind in this digital revolution,” he said.
District Administrator Tapiwa Muzerengi shared his delight. “The DMO (district medical officer, Ntambiyakogasa Sithole,) used to tell me that the Tsholotsho School of Nursing was operating at below 80 percent, relying on one old-fashioned desktop computer, and I am happy that with this ICT equipment this will definitely bump up the operating capacity. We are also thankful for the same donation to the schools as e-learning cannot be ignored,” Muzerengi said.