Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation and Science and Technology Development is the in the process of rolling out a new innovation, Edu 5.0 WiFi box, with a budget of US$50 000 required to mass produce the innovation developed by local students.
The innovation (Edu 5.0 WiFi box) was one of the three innovations the ministry showcased at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) that ended in Bulawayo on Friday. The other two included a blended learning platform and the new normal gamification of teaching and learning through the oculus.
Commenting on the two awards the ministry won, first prizes for Supreme Zimbabwean Exhibit and Best Zimbabwean Exhibit: Education and Training at ZITF 2021, the Permanent Secretary Professor Fanuel Tagwira said the three innovations were part of the technologies they were showcasing under the new normal.
“Our theme this year was ‘Showcasing the New Normal Education 5.0 Realities and Opportunities,’ which was more in sync with the ZITF 2021 theme, ‘Showcasing the New Normal for Business and Industry: Realities and Opportunities.’ When you talk about the new normal in the current circumstances, we are talking about a new normal in business and education as well. Education has radically changed in the way we teach, the way students learn has all changed overnight, that is why we showcased these new three innovative technologies,” said Prof Tagwira.
He said the ministry’s new normal based on making sure that they implement heritage education through education 5.0 by bringing in issues of entrepreneurship, innovation and industrialisation in the way students are taught. Prof Tagwira said for the Edu 5.0 WiFi box they wanted to start mass production so that they could then roll it out throughout the country for learners to benefit.
“We will be putting it in the budget as this technology can enable students without internet to access information and reading materials among other services. It needs just about US$50 000 to buy the equipment that is required for assembling and manufacturing more of the Edu 5.0 WiFi boxes locally.”
He said once they have mass produced them, they will be availed to students from primary, secondary, higher and tertiary levels. Prof Tagwira said the new normal or new reality was no longer about just teaching but also learning now, which meant that students should be given material and have to learn on their own. He said the ministry was working tirelessly to change the way of learning to the standards required by the industry.
“We want to move away from the kind of education whereby you learn and when you graduate from the university you do not have the skills required out there in the industry. Our aim now is to say as you learn also acquire the skills, this will even assist students to be innovative and rather create their own employment instead of waiting to get employed. Be able to think outside the box, innovate and develop new products and services that have a positive impact and contribution to the country.”
The Deputy Minister, Raymore Machingura, said they had placed the order for the second batch of laptops.
“The first batch of 600 of the 1 200 laptops bought by Government to support e-learning at polytechnics, teachers’ colleges and industrial training centres countrywide were handed over beginning of the month. For the second consignment the order has been placed, we are simply waiting for delivery, but we have plans to buy more.”
He said that through Education 5.0, the ministry was poised to deliver on its mandate to keep citizens abreast with global technological trends, particularly in the wake of Covid-19. Deputy Minister Machingura said the national strategic intent enshrined in Vision 2030 and NDS1, was achievable through an education system that developed capability beyond acquired knowledge.