HARARE – Government’s new online application system for Form One boarding places has come under attack again after teachers yesterday said it was causing chaos in schools because officials had not thoroughly appreciated how it functions.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education prematurely adopted the online application system without familiarising the technology with school administrators for efficiency.
This comes amid outcry from parents who are trying to enrol their children in boarding schools next year through the system, saying the process is fraught with irregularities as parents end up going to the same schools to physically apply for places.
“Technology is not a bad thing but we must ensure functionality in that technology.
“Every technology needs familiarisation, yet the ministry seems to have adopted technology without familiarisation of education officers and administrators in schools,” said PTUZ president, Takavafira Zhou.
He added that the ministry has to ensure that the online application and processing of such applications is efficient, effective, timeous and user friendly.
The online application system was introduced under the tenure of former Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora as part of government’s attempt to weed out corruption and promoting efficiency.
However, the system still has some glitches.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima defended the system and dismissed claims by the teachers.
“The online application system is working very fine, what happens is that parents approach popular schools to apply and when they are turned down they go around saying the system is dysfunctional,” Mavima said.
The online application platform has been previously met with fierce resistance as it was seen as widening the digital divide gap between students who had access to the Internet and those without.
This year, pupils seeking Form One boarding places are applying online using the Electronic Ministry’s Application Platform (EMAP), which sceptics claim may result in most of them not getting places.