Computer graduates challenged to drive digital innovation in Zimbabwe

Mbulelo Mpofu and Amos Mpofu

Chronicle Reporters

IN the previous year, the Internet Society Zimbabwe Chapter initiated a campaign to empower ICT teachers and lecturers, resulting in the graduation of 43 individuals upon completion of the Designing and Deploying Computer Networks (DDCN) course at Solusi University.

The students participated in a rigorous training programme conducted by the Internet Society Global, which equipped them with necessary skills and resources to educate the public.

On Friday, 25 male and female students graduated at a function in Bulawayo after completing a training course in “Fundamentals of Designing and Deploying Computer Networks.”

DDCN Training caters to individuals with a foundational understanding of computer hardware and software, targeting those already acquainted with personal computers. It imparts fundamental knowledge of networking, encompassing Ethernet and Wi-Fi technologies.

Progressing from these basics, the course delves into the planning, design, and implementation of uncomplicated Local Area Networks (LANs). It also addresses prevalent maintenance challenges and provides solutions for resolving them.

The Internet Society has also been reaching out to communities in partnership with the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) on the basic digital skills for people with disability in Bindura, Mashonaland Central.

The programme runs under the theme: “Connecting the unconnected,” which aligns with the Government’s commitment to inclusivity and ensuring no one is left behind with focus on narrowing the digital divide between Zimbabwe and the global community.

Designed for individuals possessing fundamental knowledge of computer hardware and software, the course instructed educators on configuring a new computer or system to a stage where it is prepared for effective use in a real-world setting.

Mr Roberto Zambrana who was one of the esteemed guests and also a training and e-learning advisor from the Internet Society Foundation said Zimbabwe is full of potential.

“I’ve been impressed by the level of acceptance and hunger to learn about the internet and in particular, emerging trends like Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially among young people,” he said.

“We were in Kenya recently and we are glad to be moving the same motion right here in Zimbabwe. Since we live in a global village, it is important that everybody levels up and Zimbabwe is included in that bracket.

“I would like to challenge these graduates to teach these concepts to others so that the knowledge continues,” said Mr Zambrana.

Solusi University lecturer who is also Head of Policy and Governance at the Internet Society, Mrs Charity Ncube, said the programme was meant to ensure continuity in learning DDCN.

“The programme was meant to inspire and empower the current and as well as the next generation of internet uses to take action in creating community networks and growing and defending the internet that we want as we work towards a digital Zimbabwe by 2030,” she said.

“The main objective of this initiative was to equip these trainers with the knowledge, skills and experience to plan, design, deploy and maintain sustainable, secure and resilient community networks, to bring Internet to everyone, to bridge the digital divide, and to connect the unconnected, leaving no one behind.”

In her speech, Professor Lwazi Sibanda, Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology at the National University of Science of Technology (Nust) applauded the programme.

“Such programmes are helpful especially to our educators because they will be equipped to impart the required education, which aligns with our current national policy of fostering education 5.0,” she said.

“Graduates consist of critical figures in the educational fraternity, which is a good move since they will go and bring impactful change in different corners of the country they work from. We thank the Internet Society for planning this programme.”

Internet Society Foundation senior officials, Ms Joyce Dogniez and Engineer Taurai Nyarufuka who is the organisation’s president attended.

Zimbabwe has adopted Education 5.0, which emphasises the utilisation of emerging technologies to deliver more personalised teaching, prioritising the social and emotional growth of students and implementing solutions to enhance societal well-being.

State universities in Zimbabwe are mandated to initiate outcome-driven national development projects aimed at fostering a competitive, contemporary, and industrialized society under the framework of Education 5.0.

Central to this approach is a shift towards problem-solving to drive value creation.

The graduation ceremony was also attended by personnel from local internet service provider, Utande.

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