Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
FIXED telephone operator, Telone has come under fire for allegedly demanding money from individual schools to provide internet services yet the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education awarded the same company a tender to provide the same services to schools.
Addressing teachers at Mushandike High School on the outskirts of Masvingo during a health policy launch meeting last week, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said the company was fleecing schools through demanding money when it was benefiting from the $2 million Information Communication and Technology grant that the Government availed for the same purpose.
“We have awarded a tender to Zanet, Telone and E-solutions to connect schools to Internet services across the country.
Therefore, we are perturbed to hear that TelOne is going to schools demanding payment for the same services. It is double dipping and we do not expect that. We have unveiled a $2 million grant where these three companies are benefiting,” she said.
She said Treasury has already released part of the money for the ICT project to start in schools.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has availed the first batch amounting to $100 000 to the companies of which $60 000 has since been released. The money is meant for Telone, Zanet and E-solutions to connect schools to Internet services. If we have schools with Internet services already, you should alert us so that we may work on extending the bandwidth only. We also want to know if there are gaps where teachers need training in ICT, so that we work in tandem with the new curriculum where technology is the way to go,” she said.
Dr Utete-Masango who also toured Chatsworth satellite school in Gutu and Marota Primary in Masvingo said it was President Mnangagwa’s wish to have modern infrastructure at all schools. Mushandike High School head Mrs Rosewita Mudarikwa said the school which has 400 pupils had applied and paid for Internet connectivity to TelOne.