GOVERNMENT is working with speed to ensure that all corners of the country are connected to the Internet as Information Communication Technologies have become a way of life and not a luxury, Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has said.
Addressing students, traditional leaders and villagers at Mupandawa in Gutu yesterday, after officially opening Sandon School laboratory and handing over laptops to several schools in the district, Minister Mandiwanzira said students should embrace ICTs as nothing was achievable without use of technology.
Sandon Academy is a brainchild of Gutu Central Member of Parliament and Zanu-PF Chief Whip Lovemore Matuke.
Minister Mandiwanzira said Government, through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), has a $7 million fund meant to promote use of technology by youths.
“There is no university you will go to without knowing how to use a computer. In a basic way, technology makes life easier. As a Ministry, we want to ensure everyone is connected,” he said.
“This is what President ED Mnangagwa is encouraging and you are taking his message into practice,” added Minister Mandiwanzira.
He encouraged schools to embrace ICTs.
“We are encouraging this sort of investment. Some schools want contributions to buy buses, but my thinking is what should be prioritised are important things.
“Yes we may need school buses, but you park them and wait for a week or so to use them, but my thinking is let us prioritise use of ICTs first like what they have done here,” said Ministert Mandiwanzira.
“Government wants to bring e-learning, e-health to every corner of the country and we have tasked companies in the sector to deal with that.”
“It is no longer a luxury to have connectivity around the country.
“Companies say we can’t invest where there are few people. That is where (Potraz director general) Dr Machengete comes in. Potraz runs what is called the Universal Services Fund. The purpose is to ensure there is infrastructure built in areas that are under served and not connected. We want to make sure the whole country is networked and connected,” he said.
“While we encourage Zimbabwe to get into information super highway. We are encouraging to use things started by others like in Silicon Valley, in India and so forth, but not encouraging our own innovation. Have you seen a nhodo game that is played on a computer? Can’t you do that? No one knew about a Facebook until a student thought about that. Those simple ideas must be transformed into something workable, by you.”
“We have a fund run by Potraz which has $7 million to come up with applications. WhatsApp made $18billion dollars and we want you to make money out of that,” he said.
Mines Minister, who is also Gutu Central aspiring Member of Parliament Cde Winston Chitando said ICTs were now key in all aspects of development.
“Some time ago, people used to learn on radio via radio programmes.
“Now it is Government push to have people to learn computers and our wish here in Gutu, is to have all schools having a computer laboratory,” he said.
This article originally appeared in The Herald