GOVERNMENT, through the Ministry of General Education, and Zamtel has launched an E-learning portal and Smart Revision which will enable pupils and teachers access education material through the internet.

Speaking during the launch in Kasama, Monday, General Education Minister David Mabumba said the launch of the E-learning portal was meant to supplement all the stakeholders in the education sector now that schools were closed.

He said although the portal will not be accessed by some pupils, it would be accessed by many in all parts of the country due to the installation of mobile towers which had enhanced internet accessibility.

“Today in the journey of Ministry of General Education, we are launching two important platforms that is the e-learning portal and Smart Revision. As it has been reported, the e-learning portal will provide a digital platform where pupils, teachers, education providers will be able to access e-content; they will be able to access electronic books and other teaching learning materials. For those who might not be aware, we started talking about this even before COVID-19, it became a reality and today we are witnessing this important launch here in Kasama. So to the pupils and the teachers, here is a digital platform where we can access material and I did it deliberately to put it here in a rural province because I wanted to test accessibility or internet availability,” Mabumba said.

“I traveled from Lunga all the way to Nsama to Mporokoso and Lunte through to Kasama because I was trying to check on my phone if there was internet connectivity; because if we launch it in Lusaka, we could have been saying that these are platforms only for the rich. But I went round checking on my phone and I discovered that through President Edgar Lungu, so many mobile towers have been installed in this country and, therefore, yes, not each and every pupil will be able to access this but I am sure that in terms of internet coverage, we are at a very high percentage because I proved it when I traveled at that particular road were internet connectivity could have been very poor.”

He said his Ministry was engaging other stakeholders to ensure that the education channel that was launched would be effective to the masses.

“This is a very excellent platform that why we believe that education is going to be provided and the traditional means is have teachers and pupils sit in a classroom [but] COVID-19 has challenged the provision of education in the world. This is why we had to launch the Zambia National Broadcasting Education Channel to begin a journey of providing education using ICT platforms. The channel is up and running but there will be other engagements that the Ministry will be holding with DSTV, GOTV and ZNBC itself to ensure that…not everybody has Topstar in their homes. We need to find a win win situation to see how this education channel that has been launched will continue to provide education. There will be also a radio channel because we recognize that not every home has an opportunity to access televisions,” Mabumba said.

Mabumba urged stakeholders in the Ministry to establish a monitoring mechanism for all the programs dealing with electronic education.

“To PS (Jobbicks) Kalumba, yes we have launched the education channel, yes today we are launching the E-learning portal; the question to you as PS Education for Technical Services would be to ensure that we begin to devise a mechanism to monitor the usability and effectiveness of these processes that we are launching. Because they will be able to provide feedback in terms of how sufficient and effective they are to our Zambian pupils, to our parents as well as our teachers,” said Mabumba.