TODAY, we applaud the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) for donating 18 computers to   190 examination centers for information communication technology (ICT) countrywide.

According to ZICTA corporate affairs manager Ngabo Nankonde this was done under Universal Access Programme (UAP) with the objective of extending ICT services to underserved and unserved areas of Zambia. 

This is a noble gesture that we hope other companies could emulate.

Empowering the youth with computer skills is as important as equipping them with other academic skills.

 Zambia is part of the global village and we are living in a heavily industrialized world where computer skills are becoming a necessity in all industries.

In fact it is almost impossible to think of an industry that does not need computer as a necessary tool today.

It is for this reason that we applaud ZICTA for taking this initiative to equip examination centres with computers.

In an interview with the Sun, Ms Nankonde said it was the wish of ZICTA for the Zambian youth to be computer literate because according to the survey they conducted in 2015, youths were the biggest user of ICT.

She said ZICTA had also set up computer labs to 150 secondary and primary schools working in conjunction with ischool Zambia, fully equipped with content.

 Ms Nankonde said ZICTA wanted to ensure that youths were connected to ICT and that plans were under way to connect a branch of the Copperbelt University (CBU) in Mpika with ICT as well as colleges and nursing schools. 

This is indeed a step in the right direction and will definitely help many pupils especially in rural schools where access to computers is limited.

It is also clear that most schools offering ICT courses do not even have enough computers to accommodate a huge pupil population.

That is why when it is examination time, pupils end up missing or not sitting for computer examinations because even examination centres do not have enough computers.

Stories of pupils failing to sit for computer examinations are all too common.

In some schools, there are two or four computers against a pupil population of 200 and this is what makes it difficult to run the subject successfully.

However, with organizations like ZCTA coming on board, we feel there is a strong chance of this changing for the better.

As for most rural schools, they do not even have any computers worth talking. Those who have, are running on outdated operating systems that have long been discarded.

It is therefore important that as the examination centres get these donations, other schools should be considered also.

 It would be pointless to equip examination centres when contributing schools do not have any or may have a few outdated models.

We therefore think it is prudent for government through the parent ministry to take stock of what is prevailing in all schools and ensure corrective measures are taken.

In this case, we mean that the ministry of General Education could do status verification so that schools that need assistance could be helped.

Ultimately all schools stand to benefit from this programme.

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