‘Education system lagging behind in technological advancement’

The Chronicle
28 September 2012

THE country’s education system should act as a vehicle for change and development

through the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), which promote connectivity across the globe, the Minister of Education, Art, Sports, and Culture David Coltart has said.

Speaking during the Matabeleland South Schools’ Provincial Merit Awards in Maphisa, Matobo District yesterday, Minister Coltart said the country’s education curriculum was not keeping pace with technological advancements in the world.
He said it was through interactions with the world and global economies that pupils and students

could be confident in their work.

“The flexibility of ICTs makes it possible to access resource persons, professionals, experts, researchers and authors. Through ICTs, pupils can appreciate the diversity of cultures and changes in the world.

“While ICTs might be expensive, they have the advantage of being used by a larger group at one time and the materials will be very current and presented in various forms suitable to the learners’ interests and diverse learning environments,” said Minister Coltart.

He challenged teachers to develop interest in ICTs so that they cascade the culture of using ICTs to their pupils.

“Teachers have to be developed into the use of ICTs in the classrooms. Colleges and universities need to train their students similarly. The use of radio and television based teacher education is also important, as it highly motivates pupils.

“It is difficult for the Government to rehabilitate school libraries in all the districts. That is why ICTs are valuable because we can use computers to ensure access of every useful book to our children,” he said.

Minister Coltart bemoaned the lack of electricity in most rural and satellite schools, saying there was need for concerted efforts in overcoming the challenge.

“Electricity problems are a major hindrance to the use of ICTs. However, if we all come together and collectively pool our resources together, we can have a great impact on the acquisition of alternative sources of energy.

“I would like to encourage all stakeholders to harness all our energies and efforts, and meaningfully move towards the acquisition and utilisation of ICTs,” said Minister Coltart.

The Matabeleland South Provincial Education Director, Mrs Tumisang Thabela said the staffing situation in the province continued to be substandard in both primary and secondary schools.

“We have shortfalls of 128 and 99 teachers in primary and secondary schools respectively, although there was a slight improvement in the humanities and languages departments.

“The continued freeze on new teaching posts negatively affects us because we cannot employ our full establishment,” said Mrs Thabela.

She also bemoaned the dismal performance of pupils at all levels that is being worsened by several untrained teachers.

“About 40 percent of our staff is untrained and this is negatively impacting on our schools’ performance. Our pupils are doing badly at public examinations.

“Although our results are slowly improving, we are still far from our targets especially at Grade Seven and O ‘Level,” said Mrs Thabela

She said the province had moved a step further and partnered with the University of Science and Technology (Nust) in a programme, which is meant to make pupils appreciate Mathematics.