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The Government has called on industries to take heed in joining the Giga initiative, a joint program between UNICEF and ITU that seek to provide internet connection to every school in the world. Government has revealed plans for every young person to be connected to information opportunity and choice.
Addressing delegates at a panel discussion at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) regarding the issue, iCT Minister Hon Dr Jenfan Muswere commended UNICEF and ITU for joining hands to come up with the very important developmental initiative.
“We are also encouraging the business community to join in and to participate in the implementation as a way of contributing to the project,”
“We are extremely grateful and excited as Zimbabwe to have been honoured to be one of the high impact countries in the continents of Asia, Caribbean, and Africa where this project will be initially rolled out. The project comes at a crucial time where the need to accelerate connectivity is more critical than ever before considering our experiences during the pandemic COVID-19.
“The health crisis has shown the importance of internet access as nations across the globe have been forced to work and especially children to learn online. Schools have closed – disrupting teaching and learning and creating a near crisis in the education sector and in our children due to limited or non-existent infrastructure to connect to distance learning and other essential services,” Dr. Muswere said.
The minister said the current situation demonstrates the importance of an accelerated approach to providing connectivity, online learning, and other initiatives for the children and young people to empower them as the future leaders of economies.
“As Zimbabwe, we have not wasted any time but hastened to fulfill the initial requirements of the project. We have already ratified Giga and put up structures including a steering committee and work plan for the implementation of the project. We are in the process of updating the live mapping of schools to identify where connectivity is required and we are also encouraging the business community to join in and participate in the implementation as a way of contributing to the project.
“This GIGA aims to connect all schools by 2030, therefore comes at an opportune time and is a perfect fit with our economic strategies as Government of Zimbabwe as enunciated in the national ICT Policy, National Development Strategy-1, national e-learning strategy, and our national vision 2030. These speak to the country becoming a digital economy and Upper Middle-Income nation by 2030.”
He said the ICT ministry is busy advancing the implementation of the National e-Learning Strategy through various initiatives, including the provision of free internet services to schools that already have connectivity, the ongoing computerization of schools, and the provision of internet services through Community Information Centers and Community Village Information Centers.
Giga is an initiative launched in 2019 by UNICEF and the International Telecoms Union (ITU). The initiative has one goal – connecting every school to the internet and every child to information, opportunity and choice.