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BCC rolls out e-learning facilities at schools

by Staff reporter
12 Aug 2020 at 07:08hrs | Views
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has started rolling out e-learning facilities at its schools as learning institutions remain closed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-learning is seen as the only solution to protect learners and educators as COVID-19 confirmed cases keep going up.

According to available statistics, BCC runs a total of 29 primary schools, with a total enrolment of 35 280 children and a teaching staff complement of 862.

"Council schools were also set to transform and comply with new trends and developments in the education sector," the latest council report read.

The council report also indicated that the city's information communication technology department had been working on providing the schools with fibre optic cable connections to provide a direct link of schools and the education section headquarters as well as to the council system.

"The department would in coming budgets provide resources for data and network connectivity charges. Other schools with resources might be asked to contribute to the subscription to mobile service providers for their data usage. According to IT, currently five megabytes of unlimited data costs around $10 000 per month. The total cost for 31 schools and 10 libraries would cost $410 000," the council report added.

According to Unesco, over 1,2 billion learners across the globe do not have access to education owing to COVID19-induced school closures.

Teachers unions insist schools should remain shut until they are proven COVID-19 safe for educators and learners.

In Zimbabwe, while virtual learning presents the best opportunity for learners to catch up, the high cost of data, poor network connectivity in the rural areas and poverty mean a considerable number have no access to learning material during the lockdown period.

BCC housing and community services director Dictor Khumalo reported that the city had suspended activities at vocational training centres due to COVID-19.

"The sections were waiting for re-opening guidelines that would be provided by council as informed by national lockdown regulations. The livestock at Khami Agricultural project was doing well and were in a healthy state," council minutes read.

"The number of livestock now stood at 31. At Mabuthweni Horticulture, a variety of vegetables have been planted, these include carrots, chomoliar, green beans and tomatoes.

"The building trainees had completed a septic tank and soak-away at Vulindlela Primary School in Cowdray Park. Currently, the trainees were constructing water storage tank stands at Magwegwe Recreation Centre. The project was expected to be complete in the first week of July."

The minutes state that the Homecraft Section had been heavily affected by the lockdown as the hotel and industry sector remained on total lockdown.

"The sector under normal circumstances provides business and training opportunities to the community. The Opportunities for Youth Empowerment, a programme implemented by SNV and Empretec Zimbabwe, were registering youths for a training programme on renewable sources of energy and horticulture," the council minutes read.

Indlovu Recreation Centre had continued with its health services programme in partnership with Chiedza.

"The centre facilitated provision of HIV testing and counselling services to the youths. A total of 126 females and 23 males benefited from the programme that was done on a weekly basis on Wednesdays," the minutes read.

Church bookings had also resumed in the last two weeks of June, generating $8 716,08.

Source - newsday