No more chalk dust flying all over the place anywhere as MTN replaced the traditional chalk blackboard with interactive Smart boards in some schools, the first ones being installed at Rokana (Kitwe) and Daina Kaimba (Lusaka) Primary Schools, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSRs).
“This in line with our vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world as well as our mission to make our stakeholders’ lives a whole lot brighter,” said MTN Chief Executive Officer Abdul Ismail.
“In 2013, the MTN Group realigned its Corporate Social Investment focus so that our contribution would be impactful. We adopted support to education through enhancement of ICTs in schools as our key focus area. This is because we are living in a technologically advanced era with an ever increasing demand for ICTs. Since then, we have made strides in empowering various schools with ICT infrastructure in Zambia. We have built computer laboratories, donated computers, held computer literacy classes and much more,” Mr. Ismail added.
The Interactive White Board is a three in one tool which replaces the chalk board, white board and flip chart for note taking. In its use for education purposes, it is loaded with local curriculum digital content.
“Combining the ease of a traditional whiteboard with all the functionality and versatility of a computer, the Interactive Whiteboard transforms the way you share information with others. Its capabilities allow the teachers to capture and hold the attention of students by integrating a range of stimulating sources into a lesson.
One of the key objectives of this initiative include teaching teachers to be more ICT literate and incorporate technology into their lessons thereby assisting learners in understanding difficult concepts,” he said.
Mr. Ismail also added that the smart boards come with a unique feature promoting the use of vernacular as a medium of instruction at primary school level.
“Working with consultants, endorsed by the Curriculum Development Centre, we installed vernacular picture cards on the White Boards to assist both the pupils and the teachers with vernacular usage. The flash cards which are recommended for pupils from grade 1 to 4 are in Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi and Tonga. This is in support of government policy to promote the use of local languages as a medium of instruction at primary school level,” said the MTN CEO.
And commissioning the project, Copperbelt province deputy permanent secretary Elias Kamanga has called for more investment in ICT infrastructure in schools saying it is the government’s policy that all primary schools adopt Information and Communication Technology (ICT) subject.
“We are aware of the challenges that this direction poses but it is a good start. The penetration levels are still low but I would like to believe we have made some significant strides from time the directive was issued. We still have a long way in the areas of ICT infrastructure and equipment but with partners such as MTN Zambia, we will successfully roll out. I therefore wish to urge government’s partners in the private sector especially those providing ICT services to emulate MTN Zambia by investing in technological infrastructure in schools,” he said.
He added that Zambia has taken important steps to achieve progress in applying Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) as an enabler of socio-economic development.
“Our country has in the last few years recorded an increase in the adoption and utilization of ICTs by our people, and this development has seen a resounding transformation in the lives of our nationals,” said Mr. Kamanga.
Kitwe District Commissioner Chanda Kabwe has however warned teachers in the district against abusing ICT facilities in schools. He said he will not hesitate to take action against teachers who abuse the facilities at the expense of educational research.
Is this a cool initiative or not?