The lockdown was announced few weeks after tertiary institutions had been opened and they had no option but to shut their doors again. In a move to try to catch up with the curriculum, the Ministry of Primary & Secondary Education urged students to make use of eLearning platforms. Primary and secondary schools has also been urged to do the same after the government partnered with Ruzivo to provide the platform.
This initiative has since been given a cold shoulder by students as they aired out their grievances. Amongst the grievances included, data cost and some even questioned the preparedness of their institutions.
To try to clear the air, Prof. Amon Murwira, who is the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education said:
Our primary objective is to safeguard life. However, we have told our universities to start developing material online for students.Prof. Amon Murwira – Minister of Higher & Tertiary Education
In Response, Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) has issued a statement on why there are condemning this initiative
Zinasu position on e-learning
THE environment in Zimbabwe today is a true reflection of the gravity of the prevailing situation the world over. It is a coterie of incompetent leadership, poor governance and the global epidemic of COVID-19.
The students fraternity is especially affected and every student is today disenfranchised like all industries and individuals alike.
The Higher and Tertiary Education ministry and various institutions have proposed e-learning as a means of educating the students.
A very noble idea, indeed, but all factors ignored completely. However, the vast majority of students have no access to reliable electricity and network connections, considering that only 41% of Zimbabwe has access to electricity, as stated by the Zimbabwe Electricity and Transmission Distribution Company and an even smaller share has access to mobile networks.
This demands investments worth billions of dollars to be able to ensure access for all. More so, to those with access to both, electricity and mobile networks, the prices of data are way beyond the reach of many, considering that one webinar costs around $100, which is a good fraction of the earnings of a civil servant.
Now, the position of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) is a total rejection of these e-learning proposals! This is after consideration of the majority of students and their benefactors.Allan G Mawaya – ZINASU Spokesperson