NEWLY sworn-in Minister of Primary and Secondary Schools Dr Evelyn Ndlovu has vowed to harness ICTs as enabling learning tools in schools to ensure continuous learning for students under the Covid-19 shadow.
Dr Ndlovu, who was sworn in by President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday — replacing Hon Cain Mathema who is now the Minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the President and Cabinet — comes in at a time when schools have opened albeit with the Covid-19 pandemic still a constant threat.
She is also coming at a time when President Mnangagwa recently challenged all civil servants to work towards the realisation of Vision 2030 to become an upper middle class economy by ensuring that citizens have access to basic services such as clean water and well-resourced schools.
As part of implementing Vision 2030 anchored on the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) Government has started the construction of 3 000 schools around the country as it lives to President Mnangagwa’s promise of modernising the education sector.
Under NDS1 Government will be paying particular attention to broadening access and participation to education by marginalised populations in both rural and urban areas, with the private sector expected to play a key role as envisaged by the strategic economic blueprint.
In a brief interview after her swearing-in, before she joined other Cabinet ministers, Dr Ndlovu said the Covid-19 pandemic, which has disrupted schooling, has also taught the country a lesson on how it can move forward.
“I am going into the meeting to join the rest of the ministers, to go and listen, there is no time to go into the office. I brought my files, I am a moving office . . . Covid-19 has taught us a lesson that we should look at the issues of ICT by all schools and their access,” she said.
In the wake of Covid-19, the country adopted several measures such as broadcasting lessons to ensure that there is continuity in learning and later on in partnership with UNICEF embraced digital-assisted learning.
Through an active collaboration and regular engagement, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Microsoft and UNICEF built the Learning Passport Zimbabwe, which was launched in March 2021 to reach 300 000 learners by end of 2021.
Tied to this President Mnangagwa recently said the infrastructural development that is taking place around the country will see 3 000 schools being constructed countrywide to ensure that no area in Zimbabwe will remain behind in terms of access to education.
Born in Bulilima district, she dropped off her schooling because of financial constraints and went to Bulawayo where she become a saleslady. After that, she went to Botswana in response to her nation’s call for freedom fighters to help dislodge the colonial system.
She wanted to be a nurse, but she was rejected by a British training school because on her recommendation letter was a ZAPU stamp and thus she was regarded as a terrorist.
Although she failed to become a nurse after completing her secondary education in the camps, she became an economist after undergoing training in Ukraine during the Soviet era.