The Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Anna Ester Nghipondoka, says information and communication technology (ICT) is a very important component in education and to have a knowledge-based society it is something that cannot be ignored.
She was in Kavango East Region last Friday to see how the integration of ICT is going in schools and libraries and how the libraries in the region are functioning and also by doing so discovering the challenges the region faces with regard to ICT integration in education.
She said her visit will enable her to report back to the ministry so that it can formulate tangible strategies.
“The world is moving very fast towards an e-world, everything is e nowadays, we even have e-governance, e-parliament, and we need to prepare our children for that,” she said.
During the visit, she was briefed on the ICT report for 2016 which showcases where the region stands in terms of ICT in schools and libraries.
The report was presented by Thomas Nyambe the education officer at the Rundu Teachers Resource Centre
Nyambe said 14 schools in Kavango East Region received a minimum of 20 computers each in their computer laboratories, provided by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC) through Tech/Na, MCA and the Directorate of Education.
The schools are Omega, Andara, Max, Mayara, Shinyungwe, Linus, Neyuva, Mupapama, Matumbo Ribebe, Kamunoko, Dr Kampungu, Rundu SSS and Elia Neromba.
“Most of the labs are functioning and being used by the learners and teachers during ICT periods for teaching and learning,” Nyambe said.
He said that training was conducted at the 13 schools, but most participants did not complete all the modules for certification and currently 12 schools have internet connectivity while “others are not connected due to lack of Telecom internet coverage and the labs are maintained by the regional IT technician of the MoEAC and supported by resource centre staff,” he added.
Nyambe noted some computers/labs are not operating due to technical problems, while some computer labs are not fully utilized to support teaching and learning because most teachers did not complete the ICDL training, due to lack of continuous support.
“The MoEAC head office should engage with Telecom for it to expand its services to remote schools,” Nyambe added.
Success stories were shared by Nyambe – 49 schools participated in the schoollink programme, 22 schools received computers and printers from the head office for the programme, 32 schools are connected to the internet and using the system to generate timetables and report cards, and some schools are using 3G network from MTC, but it’s too expensive to sustain.
However there are also challenges. He said 27 schools did not receive computers and printers from head office, while 17 schools are not connected to the internet.
Some schools are not using the schoollink system due to lack of internet connectivity and the internet speed is very slow, especially in rural schools.
Nyambe informed the deputy minister there are limited funds to monitor the implementation of the programme and he recommended that schools without computers and printers be provided for through the programme.
“The head office should engage with Telecom to expand the coverage and increase the bandwidth to schools … and adequate funds should be provided for training and monitoring of the programme,” he said.