Not smart as in, mentally, we mean gadgetally (yes we made that word up!). Airtel Zambia has announced a new program that allows teachers in the Zambia National Union of Teachers to access smartphones that they can pay for over a 6 to 24 month period with no interest at all! Awesome, isn’t it?
The partnership is among Airtel Zambia, ZNUT, Mammoth Financial Institution and will be carried out through the Ministry of Education. Seeing as the internet is the biggest advancement in the world we have right now, this initiative is perfect for our time.
So, here’s how it works. Teachers first have to apply through their district council to be eligible to get these smartphones and then after approval they can choose the phone they would like to use. The phone will then be delivered 5 days after the first installment.
The phones that are available on this program include the Blackberry Z10, Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 4S which will come with data bundles of 500MB and payment plans of 6,9, 12, 18 and 24 months at K944, K666, K527, K388 and K319 per month respectively.
The Huawei P6 tablet will also be offered with 500MB data bundles and payment plans of 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months at K603, K439, K357, K275 and K234 per month respectively.
At the launch of this smartphone scheme, Airtel Managing Director Charity Lumpa said this effort by Airtel was to promote the dissemination of educational information amongst teachers to aid their teaching work and help improve educational standards in Zambia.
Education Deputy Minister Patrick also added that the initiative came at the right time as education curriculums have become more involved in ICT incorporation.
Roy Mwaba, who was present to represent the ZNUT president Chinyama Kapenda, also urged teachers country wide to use the opportunity to improve their teaching methods.
However there are some pros and cons to this entire scheme.
The pros would be that the scheme will help with educational support to students that have a hard time understanding things, even children with learning disabilities may now have an easier time being taught, and it will also help in interaction with students who may have gadgets of their own because educational tools can be shared over the internet.
The cons of the scheme cold be the cost firstly of internet bundles that the teachers will now have to buy after that first free 500MB finishes (and it doesn’t stay long). You can learn about how to save your bundle here. Another disadvantage is if the students don’t have their own gadgets, which in Zambia is very likely, the teacher will still have to use his/her chalkboard and share information.
Zambia has loadshedding levels so intense and unexpected it had us thinking, if the teacher has no power to charge their phone, that means they cannot access the internet on their device, meaning they’ll still have to rely on their books to teach.
We think it’s great and all but first we have to give it some time because teachers to fully understand their devices themselves and discover what it can do for them before they can use it to its full potential.
We hope this Airtel Zambia smartphone program will make teaching easier and also bring to light new information to their students that will increase their understanding of what they learn in schools and hopefully get results higher than the poor ones we’ve been seeing coming out of the Examinations Council of Zambia in recent years.
Airtel logo picture courtesy of MyEmag