TEACHERS have appealed to the government to come up with an initiative which will see them receive free data bundles so that they can effectively access the digital platforms to conduct online lessons during lockdown.
This comes at a time when the government has been on a drive to enhance online and electronic learning as the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on traditional face-to-face learning and the schools’ calendar.
While the government through the ministry of Education has lately been using radio and television lessons for learners in different parts of the country, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) reckons a lot still needs to be done in that regard.
“There is a need for new pedagogical methods of learning rather than face to face learning. The earlier government embraces teachers’ initiatives of class and subject WhatsApp learning while pupils are in their homes, the better.
“We therefore urge government to provide data bundles to teachers and use money donated by organisations like United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to acquire learning gadgets that can assist pupils from poor background and those living with disability to effectively learn through WhatsApp lessons,” said PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou.
He further indicated that the government initiatives should also factor in learners in marginalised and remote areas.
“It is futile to adopt radio and television lessons in a situation where 75 percent of learners have no television and radio frequencies. Some parents, especially in rural areas, cannot afford to buy radio and television handsets,” he said.
Last year, most learners failed to attend the virtual classrooms due to the digital divide in the country.
Meanwhile, Zhou also pleaded with the government to delay the opening of schools as the pandemic was at its peak.
“Schools would not open any time soon but perhaps in September. Any attempt to open schools soon will be suicidal and genocidal and resisted by teachers. We also urge parents and relatives to avail their phones to our students for some time during the week,” he said.