ZICTA ICT labs for 148 schools
By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia
The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), will this year set up computer laboratories with internet connectivity in one hundred and forty-eight schools countrywide.
ZICTA Chairperson Mwangala Ehueni said of the schools to be connected to the internet, 74 will be basic and high schools.
Ehueni said: “55 government colleges will also have computer laboratories with internet connectivity.”
Ehueni was speaking yesterday at a sensitisation workshop for Members of Parliament on the legalisation governing the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in the country.
The move to set up computer laboratories in schools is in line with the new partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad)’s plan of equipping schools in Africa with computers to promote e-learning.
ZICTA public relations manager Ngabo Nankonde said last year that the organisation had set aside ZMK59 billion (more than USD10 million) from the Universal Access Funds for the installation of communication towers throughout the country that will also be used to connect schools. The money was collected from service providers operating in Zambia including Zain and MTN through license fees.
Nankonde said the move was part of the digital migration program aimed at achieving effective and efficient communication by 2015. Nankonde added that the installation of towers by ZICTA would lead to more effective communication for mobile phones and internet service providers.
ZICTA has already established telecenters in some parts of the country that are equipped with computers, photocopying machines and other communication equipment in order to allow access to the internet.
Currently, ZICTA is evaluating the performance of ICT clubs in 10 schools around the country that it introduced last year. With participation from the pilot schools, a television programme themed ‘ICT amplified’ was organized, aimed at testing practical skills and knowledge regarding ICT products and services.