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Govt, ITU, UNICEF in internet roll out drive

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“Our key obligation is to ensure that there is deployment of ICT infrastructure in the rural areas, this is supported by infrastructure sharing which will be accelerated. In 2021 we are going to deploy more bases stations in rural areas under the POTRAZ universal services fund,” he said.

The Zimbabwean government has entered into a partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to implement a school connectivity project named the “GIGA” project.

In a statement, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said the project is targeting to connect all schools in the country to internet to enhance e-learning.

“The project is targeted at connecting every school in Zimbabwe to the Internet and every child to information, opportunity and choice,” said Minister Muswere.

The project will also help schools  particularly in remote areas who are facing challenges in funding their e-learning programs due to the high cost.

On the other hand Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) had also decided to pay for bandwidth for 400 schools across the country from May to December this year, he said.

“While this gesture should be applauded, I call upon the regulator (POTRAZ) and network operators to look for a sustainable solution to the affordability challenge bedeviling our schools, in particular rural schools,” he added.

On Monday, while the country commemorates World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD), ICT Minister said some parts of the country did not have network coverage. He urged the POTRAZ and public network operators to extend coverage to all parts of the country and to ensure the affordability of services for all.

“As we move along with implementation of the e-learning programme, we have noted that a number of schools are finding it difficult to fund their respective e-learning programmes on account of the unaffordable internet bandwidth.”

“I call upon the network service providers to look for a sustainable solution to the affordability challenge bedevilling our schools, in particular rural schools,” he said.

Last year, the government launched the e-learning strategy for schools to complement traditional forms of learning and mitigate disruptions to the education sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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