Botswana to enhance education through Thutonet

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana     

Education structures the world over are getting a facelift for the better through the use of Information and communication technologies (ICT). Africa also is fast playing catch-up day in day out and currently, Botswana has been sprucing up its own, technologically speaking.

Thutonet or e-education has been for long on the education ministry’s top priority tray until recently when the initiative was launched. Speaking during the official launch of Thutonet Governance Structure, Secretary of Education Reforms, Taboka Nkhwa, said for Botswana to make any appreciable progress in its socio-economic development efforts, substantial resources should be directed at improving educational delivery.

The long-awaited launch of Thutonet provided both “the agenda for change and a platform for a coordinated delivery of ICT’S within the education system. Nkhwa said this structure was a critical component of the Education and Training Sector Strategies Plan (ETSSP).”

The secretary said in 2007, Maitlamo policy was approved for its clear benefits for driving the country’s social, economic, cultural and political transformation towards national development, through the effective use of ICT’s.

Biztechafrica quoted the secretary as saying, “a lot has been going on but in bits and pieces. We have put in place a structure that will ensure that there is a coordinated approach to leverage the ICT sector in the country.”

According to the ministry who are the proponents of the development, “the policy would benefit the country as it creates an enabling environment for the growth of an ICT industry suitable to provide universal service and access to information and communication facilities in the country, making it a regional ICT Hub that will ensure the country’s service sector competes globally as there would be an increase in accessibility to relevant, localised and understandable information for all citizens.

Significant progress has been made as in bringing ICT to the grassroots as witnessed by the introduction of Kitsong Centres in villages, connection to east and west internet cables, the growth of e-government and the availability of more services online.

In an apparent reference to the gesture by organisations such as Samsung who gave computers to a school in old Naledi, she said there had been great support for technology in schools from the private sector, mostly through the Adopt a School Programme. Many primary schools have received computers and related technologies. “These initiatives have seen our youngest learner access technology for the first time.”

In addition, through partnerships with leading technology companies, many teachers were trained in the use and infusion of ITC’s in teaching and learning. “Some of our graduate teachers are computer literate and have become champions of change in their schools” she said.

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