The first batch of 600 of the 1 200 laptops bought by Government to support e-learning at polytechnics, teachers' colleges and industrial training centres countrywide were handed over yesterday.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Harare, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira, said through Education 5.0, the ministry was poised to deliver on its mandate to keep citizens abreast with global technological trends, particularly in the wake of Covid-19.
"The Government procured 1 200 laptops to support polytechnic colleges, teachers' colleges and industrial training centres in delivering e-learning services, which have now become the norm due to the Covid-19 pandemic," said Prof Murwira.
The national strategic intent enshrined in Vision 2030 and NDS 1, Prof Murwira said, was achievable through an education system that developed capability beyond acquired knowledge.
"Our education has, thus, been reconfigured from Education 3.0, a colonial design to produce a worker, to Education 5.0, a design meant to industrialise and modernise the nation," he said.
Education 5.0 is hinged on a five-pillar framework, comprising programme infrastructure, promotion infrastructure, physical infrastructure, and financing infrastructure, supported by an enabling legislative base.
By procuring the laptops in support of e-learning programmes at colleges across the country, the Government enables Education 5.0's physical infrastructure pillar, aimed at transforming the information communication technology landscape in higher and tertiary education institutions.
Among the polytechnic colleges that benefited from the Government procurement are: Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru and Kwekwe, which got 20 laptops apiece.
Some teachers' colleges that got laptops were; Seke (25), Morgan Zintec (25), Madziwa (30), Belvedere (25), Marymount (30), Bondolfi (20), Morgenster (20), Hillside (25) and Nyadire (20). Msasa Industrial Training Centre, Westgate Industrial Training Centre, Danhiko, St Peter's Kubatana and Mupfure College were given 10 laptops each.
In addition to providing computers, the ministry is working on ensuring Internet and intranet connectivity at the institutions, which will ease the sharing of resources, like libraries and servers.
The ministry designed a five mission education model of teaching, research, community outreach, innovation and industrialisation for the production of goods and services.
The philosophy behind Education 5.0 is that no education system functions effectively if it is divorced from the realities prevailing in the community it is meant to transform, hence the drive for a heritage-based inclination.
On behalf of his counterparts, Morgan Zintec College principal, Dr Tonderai Zenda, thanked the Government for supporting tertiary institutions in their endeavour to provide quality education through e-learning, among other teaching approaches, necessitated by Covid-19.
Dr Zenda said the Government's profound move, which was "one of the many responses to challenges in higher and tertiary education", came at an opportune moment as lecturers "were incapacitated" to procure personal computers for teaching and learning.
The continual upgrade in resources is a deliberate move by the Second Republic driven by the vision of an upper middle income economy by 2030 through an education system that speaks to the industrialisation and modernisation embodied in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).