Airtel Networks Zambia Plc in partnership with British Council (the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations with offices in more than 100 countries around the world) has launched an ICT hub at Chilanga Primary school which will benefit pupils with free internet connectivity provided for under the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme
Airtel Networks Zambia Plc. Managing Director, Mr Peter Correia said at the launch that the aim of the ICT hubs is to fulfil the potential that access to wider broadband connectivity offers in achieving the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility educational goals.
He added that Airtel’s CSR strategy on education and sustainable community development initiatives included the provision of high speed broadband access which guarantees teachers and students limitless new educational opportunities.
“This is truly a great milestone for both Airtel and British Council because the hubs that we are opening up in schools will serve as ICT centers for teachers, students and the wider communities,” Mr. Correia said.
British Council Zambia Country Director, Wayne Harper, said the British Council was delighted to launch the second ICT hub as this was providing access to ICT in schools and being used in learning and teaching methodologies.
“Connectivity is one of the major challenges that have been affecting the utilisation of the hubs. We are happy to be partners with Airtel Networks Zambia Plc who now provide the free data every month for each hub. You will be happy to note that we first launched the first hub in February and this year at Matero Girls School where the population is very high,” Mr. Harper said.
Connecting Classrooms is a global education programme for schools. It is designed to help young people learn about global issues and become responsible global citizens, as well as giving them the skills to work in a global economy. It offers school partnerships; professional development courses for teachers; accreditation; and the chance to share best practice with international counterparts.
Guest of honour at the event, deputy Minister of Justice who is also area Member of Parliament, Honourable Keith Mukata, said Government was delighted with the partnership between Airtel and the British Council.
“It is indeed wonderful to be part of these key areas of development that directly impact on society and on the future of Zambia and Zambia’s young people. Government is doing all it can but also needs support from partners and this initiative is one such case in point. We recognise that more has to be done to address the inequalities that still remain particularly between the rural and urban learning institutions as regards access to ICT,” Honourable Keith Mukata said.
Connecting Classrooms enables students, teachers, and district education authorities to develop intercultural skills, exchange information, knowledge and experience, as well develop joint curriculum projects.
The British Council facilitates and funds the setup of digital hubs in schools, enhance teachers’ knowledge and skills in the use of technology, and provide an online platform where schools can collaborate globally.
Since 2011 the British Council has set up 14 digital hubs: Matero, Livingstone, Choma, Chirundu, Siavonga, Mongu, Chilanga, Kitwe, Solwezi, Mansa, Kabwe, Kasama, Chinsali and Chipata. Each digital hub consists of 20 computers with access to a range of British Council resources.
Since 2006, more than 300 school partnerships have been developed between Zambia and the UK. During this time, over 1200 teachers have been trained in ICT, global citizenship and a range of skills to facilitate working in an international context. 215 school leaders have participated in school leadership courses since 2011.
Each digital hub has a trained Digital Ambassador, who is a teacher from the host school who supports capacity building for teachers and students.
With the need for ICT education growing at a fast rate, it’s great to see mobile operators taking training into as many schools as they can.
We hope the schools that receive this training and provision take care of the equipment and learn a thing or two while at it.