LOCAL Microsoft Education Partner Direct E-Learning International on Wednesday launched a Microsoft Examination and Testing Centre at Lusitania Primary School in Greendale, Harare.
This launch follows the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s partnership with the world’s largest operating system maker in December last year.
Primary and Secondary education minister Professor Paul Mavima said government is committed in promoting the ICT agenda in schools.
“However, we also acknowledge as a ministry that migrating ICT enabled platforms is accompanied with some notable challenges which require collaborative efforts with all our partners and other stakeholders. The determination and focus of my ministry will however ensure that all barricades to the ICT agenda for the education sector are resolved.
“Lusitania School and Direct E-Learning International have proven here that it is possible,” he said.
He underscored the importance of adopting sustainable use of ICTs in schools.
“Let’s therefore embrace safe and sustaninable ICTs into teaching and learning,” he said.
He also said that that in line with the new curriculum, 21st Century E learning is the way to go. “The Updated Competence Based Curriculum being implemented by my Ministry emphasizes multi-literacy, multi-tasking, life-long learning, and a competency based education for our learners with greater focus on practical competences necessary for life, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, effective communication and team building skills, 21st Century Learning Environments and technologies act as a catalyst for an inclusive and quality education that the government is committed to,” he said adding that, “Technology has become a necessity in education. Preparing students to use technology has in that regard become an unavoidable reality.”
Direct E-Learning International country representative Mr Canaan Gatsi said every student from Grade Three has access to their devices.
“At this school, each and every child from Grade 3 has a device. So we are looking at classroom devices. These are the classmate pieces for every student laptops. Then the computer labs have conventional computer PCs and a screen. So generally the computer lap is for ICT lessons. But in the classroom it is for e-Learning where they do their Science, Shona, quizzes.
“There is a classroom management software on their smartboards. They are broadband powered. They provide teachers control over every device and send homework at home with those devices. So the teacher now has control. Imagine the teacher in high heels moving across the classroom assessing the child, its tasking.
“But with the smartboards, they can be controlled from the teachers’ desks and its touch screen, it’s a powerful computer, it’s a white board like the traditional one,” he said.
The devices also have access to broadband internet.
Lusitania headmaster Mr Daryl Oswald was elated to have the latest e-Learning technology from Microsoft at their school.
“First of all I must say, as an educationist, as a teacher by profession, very excited. In the classroom, we know what’s exciting, what’s modern, what’s engaging to the children. To be effective teachers we want to engage those children. We have a very modern generation of learners, there is need to use ICT and focus on ICTs and in our opening of this centre, the gains of this will be phenomenal. That is definitely the advantage,” he said.
During the tour of the school, the Minister was taken aback when he was still of kindergarten school going age in the ECD classrooms interacting with the pupils and their teachers.
When the pupils did their short tests of explaining the functions of the tongue, ear and mouth on the smartboard, upon getting all the answers correct, an air of jubilation engulfed the room sending the Minister, the Portuguese Ambassador to Zimbabwe and other guests into bouts of laugher.
In some Grade 3 classes, pupils were doing the tests using the smartboard exceptionally well.