The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and various other ministries and Government agencies need to address network and power challenges faced by rural schools which have seen pupils failing to benefit from online learning.
Last year, the closure of schools owing to the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the challenges faced by rural pupils who have no access to online learning. This has largely been cited as the reason for their poor performance in public examinations.
Acting national coordinator for local non-governmental organisation, Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) Clemence Nhliziyo said online lessons offered by some teachers were out of reach of many ordinary Zimbabwean parents
He said the situation had worsened because of network and power challenges.
“Children living in rural areas are lagging behind. Internet connectivity is difficult to connect in some places, affordability of data is another problem again.
“The absence of reliable network connectivity in remote areas makes it difficult for learners to gain access to the internet even if the school has funds to buy data.
“Rural schools used to suffer the perennial shortage of physical books and now they suffer the lack of access to online e-learning platforms,” said Mr Nhliziyo.
Speaking during the recent commemorations of the day of African Child, Zanu PF legislator for Mutasa North constituency, Cde Chido Madiwa, said there was need to ensure that responsible committees took action and put the issues on the budgetary plan.
“We have taken note of the issues so that they are put on the budgetary plan to ensure youths participate positively in the development of the nation,” said Cde Madiwa.
Globally, there is increasing recognition that young people not only have the right to decide how resources are allocated, but that they also have valuable knowledge and viewpoints to bring to governance processes.
In some African countries, those under 35 comprise up to 70 percent of the population, making them a constituency difficult to ignore.
Increasingly, governments, donors and civil society are recognising both the specific needs and vulnerabilities of youths as well as their huge potential to contribute positively to development.