NALIKWANDA UPND member of parliament Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa has called on the Ministry of General Education to make an effective assessment to the newly-launched electronic educational programmes to establish if they are attaining their intended objectives.
And General Education Minister David Mabumba says his Ministry will engage the Ministry of Energy to see how best load shedding will not affect the televised educational programmes and e-learning portal.
In an interview, Prof Lungwangwa who is also former minister of education said the initiative to establish electronic programs was a good move but that a number of pupils both in rural and urban areas stood a chance of missing out on the programme.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of General Education announced that ZNBC opened a channel dedicated to the provision of education during the closure of schools and beyond amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The new ZNBC channel has since commenced broadcast of the educational programmes.
“I think all of us should appreciate that a very serious calamity has befallen the world. We are all aware that schools have been affected and universities all over the world. The question is what do we do given this calamity? Initiatives are being undertaken in different countries to see how best we can address the education predicament in this calamity. Coming out with e-learning in both in colleges, universities and schools is one initiative that has been put in place to try and engage the children. Of course, it is a fact that e-learning cannot be accessed in different parts of the country because of various factors like power and electricity and Internet and so on,” Prof Lungwangwa said.
“It is an initiative at the end of it all; the initiative will be evaluated to see how accessible it has been in different parts of the country. We know that some children may not be accessing the facility, other children are accessing the facility, even other children in urban areas where these facilities are easily accessible may not be accessing it. I think it is an experiment worth taking, but at the end of it all, it’s an experiment that is worth evaluating to see how effective it has been.”
He said the Ministry should work with all education stakeholders to analyze how and if pupils were accessing the programmes.
“First of all, we don’t know how long this will take. We might be on a long or short war in terms of the impact of COVID-19. We certainly don’t know, nobody can tell exactly how long it will take; nobody can precisely say how long children will be out of school. Given that part of scenario, we expect the Ministry of General Education officials to make assessments to the various structures like Provincial Education Offices, District Education Offices and heads of schools to make an assessment of how the e-learning facility is extending to various areas and report to the Ministry head quarters, who should be able to analyze what is going on and what interventions can be put in place. That is the way to do it so that in areas where children are not accessing it, maybe other interventions can be put in place,” said Prof Lungwangwa.
And Mabumba said his Ministry would engage the Ministry of Energy to see how best load shedding would not affect the educational programmes and e-learning portal.
“Load shedding, as it is referred to, is load management process. So, depending on how we discuss with Zesco, they can find a platform. We are given a timetable for the educational programme to say, ‘between this and this time…’ So, it is a question of the Ministry of General Education and Ministry of Energy sitting down together and agreeing what could be the best way to manage this. These are matters that are administrative between the various ministries. We all acknowledge that load shedding is there, but it can be managed. It is the question of the Ministry of General Education and Ministry of Energy just coming together to see how best we ensure that load shedding does not affect the programme,” said Mabumba in a separate interview in Lusaka.