Two schools in Manicaland have benefited from a US$90 000 solar installation programme by the Chinese Government, which seeks to bridge the divide between rural and urban schools in terms of access to Information Communications Technology.
The programme was facilitated by Mutare-Chimanimani Senator, and Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, in partnership with the Chinese province of Anhui.
Minister Mutsvangwa also facilitated the completion of a US$17 000 electricity installation project for Gombakomba Village by the Chinese Embassy to Zimbabwe. The project, which was initiated by the community more than five years ago, had stalled due to lack of resources.
Speaking at an assessment tour of the projects at Gombakomba and Manzununu Secondary Schools yesterday, Minister Mutsvangwa said the project would help improve the lives of learners as well as restore the dignity of rural teachers.
She said it would also be instrumental in pushing Government’s 2030 vision of increasing productivity.
“We want to try and remove that divide between the rural and urban schools. The world is now a global village and our learners should be introduced to ICT for them to fit in that village. This solar project can power everything from computers, teacher’s houses, and even pump water for the schools to embark on agriculture projects,” she said.
“Now the schools can also attract the best teachers because they know that their welfare is well taken care of. Teachers had so much influence in the past, and we want to bring back that dignity they had in the communities they stay in.”
She said the solar project would be key in implementation of Government’s Education 5.0 model, which promotes productivity among the learners instead of focusing on the theory only.
Minister Mutsvangwa urged schools to utilise the solar energy to pump water for their agriculture projects that could generate income for them in future.
She said parents and teachers had a role to play in shaping a well-rounded learner who could work hard to produce enough to survive on.
“Our children should learn to be self-sufficient. They will need those skills later in life because the world is tough out there. When we bring up our children, let us teach them how to work,” she said.
She said the two projects were only the beginning of the partnership between the Province of Anhui and Manicaland as there were plans to include more schools.
President Mnangagwa’s engagement initiative had made it possible for Zimbabweans to enjoy good relations with China, with the relationship bearing fruits now
The project implementers, Satewave Technologies chief executive Mr Zhou Zhongguo said each solar project had capacity to generate about 30KW, which was enough to power the whole school and teachers’ houses.
“These solar panels have a 25-year guarantee so this means the schools are guaranteed of constant supply of energy for many years. Our company has been in Zimbabwe for many years so if there are any problems we will quickly solve them,” he said.
Gombaomba Ward 6 Councillor Mr Washington Muradzikwa welcomed the kind gesture.
“We are very grateful for the programme which will assist both Gombakomba primary and secondary schools. Our children will now be able to have practical computer studies here,” he said.
Manzununu Secondary School headmaster Mr Daveson Gondo also hailed the initiative
“We were the first beneficiaries to the Zimbabwe-China solar installation programme and will use this to introduce ICT to our children. We might be in the rural areas, but we expect our learners to be conversant in ICT as much as their urban counterparts. We also have adult learners in the community who want night studies. This solar system will help many in the community who want a chance to study,” he said.
Minister Mutsvangwa also donated five desktop computers to Manzununu school to enable them to launch ICT studies for their learners.