Mosi-oa-Tunya High revolutionises digital products and services Prof Mthuli Ncube interacts with learners at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School while the school headmaster Mr Roland sibanda looks on

Leonard Ncube, [email protected]

A GROUP of visionary students at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School are making headlines for their ground-breaking innovations and breakthroughs in the technology industry. 

The Victoria Falls City Council-run school has taken a grassroots approach to providing simplified and affordable digital products and services.

The school introduced computers as a learning area in 2014 and has since expanded its curriculum to include computer science. 

The school now has a fully furnished computer room, research centre and innovation hub that empowers learners to explore programming and coding, robotics, database management, computer operations and packaging up to the Higher Education Examinations Council (Hexco) level.

Finance, Economic Development, and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, was charmed by innovations done by the students when he visited Victoria last week, pledging more support for the school to commercialise its inventions.

He was taken through the research centre, which has tablets received from the Merit Awards and an interactive board for learners, while the innovation hub, built through assistance from Love for Africa, Matter Foundation and JAMF, is furnished with iPads to train learners in coding skills and robotics.

Mr Don Nyadete and Mrs Jannet Ncube, the school’s computer science teachers, said every learner has to pass through the innovation hub. They said the school’s vision is to ensure that all learners come out with a computer certificate and can further their skills.

Some of the first learners from the school’s computer studies are doing software engineering at a local university, while others are employed online after learning robotics, the teachers told Prof Ncube.

Prof Ncube  interacted with learners showing computer and robotics skills, before being shown the robot cleaning machine designed by Kevin Tshuma, Joseph Chindora (both in Upper 6), Bulisani Sibanda and Dumisani Tshuma, (both in  Lower 6).

The multi-purpose cleaning robot can be used in health-sensitive areas without human contact. 

They were inspired by the Covid-19 and cholera pandemics and designed three eco-friendly machines, incorporating a hybrid hand sanitiser and carpet cleaner that can all be used in hotels, hospitals and mortuaries during pandemic times to avoid direct contact with infected places or bodies. They exhibited their innovations at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair last month.

The students spent six months building the robot cleaner, and they want funding to commercialise it. 

One of the student innovators, Tshuma, said robotics is the future of the world. 

“We have this multi-purpose cleaning robot, which was designed mainly for cleaning quarantined places like hospitals and mortuaries,” he said. 

“As a nation, this is where we are heading and this is what we will be using in the coming years. With adequate funding, we can commercialise this project.”

Prof Ncube pledged to ensure they get funding through the National Venture Fund, and then donated solar-powered Wi-Fi to the school.

“The innovation from our communities is very impressive. Treasury set up the National Venture Fund a few years ago, whose job is to support start-ups,” he said. 

“I will ask them to look into it. We are looking forward to working with all innovators and start-ups as we are ready to support them.

A multipurpose robot cleaner made by Mosi-oa-Tunya High School learners

“The head took me through the ICT lab, research facility and innovation hub, and I must say I was suitably impressed by what I saw where pupils were programming visual basics and I saw that it works.”

Prof Ncube was impressed by the innovations at the school and challenged the pupils to go further and start programming in java and python language. He noted that the equipment at the innovation hub is world-class, and when properly used, will produce some of the best students in Zimbabwe and Africa.

“So, because I was so impressed, I’m also going to personally donate Wi-Fi to the school and I will make sure that it is solar-powered and has extenders because this is a good school. I will also donate free data for several months so that the ICT works well,” said Prof Ncube.

Prof Ncube donated more than 15 infinity desktops, 5HP laptops, 2HP printers, 3HP all-in-one desktops and 20 adapters to the school as a reward for the school choir’s melodious rendition of the national anthem at international conferences in the resort city.

Mosi-oa-Tunya High is among the leading schools providing cutting-edge technology education in Zimbabwe. The school’s vision is to ensure that all learners come out with a computer certificate and are able to further their skills. 

The breakthroughs by Mosi-oa-Tunya High learners should inspire other young minds and help drive innovation and technology development in all Zimbabwe’s learning institutions.

 

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