MATHEWS NDANDULA writes
TEXILA American University (TAU) has commended Zamtelfor making access to internet services easier for its students especially in light of restricted movements due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in Lusaka, TAU Deputy Vice Chancellor Vijay Kumar Rajaranthinam has commended Zamtel for making internet free for TAU students to facilitate electronic learning and to ease their economic burden on purchasing data bundles. Dr Vijay has further implored other mobile service providers to emulate the gesture. He said as much as e-learning is affordable for some, many students, especially those in rural areas are struggling to connect with their teachers and classmates because of the high cost of internet bundles. Dr Vijay says learning institutions should take initiative in making e-learning easier for their students.
“Texila American University started its online classes on 25 March 2020, the online classes are live video lectures and each day the lectures are about four hours long. Apart from the live lectures, TAU also conducts live practical demonstrations using TAU’s versatile Learning Management System (LMS).
“To facilitate students’ easy access to the online classes and to ease their economic burden on data bundles, TAU approached ZAMTEL to provide zero cost data bundles for students to access their LMS and continue their online studies. ZAMTEL, true to its spirit of connecting the nation, provided zero cost data bundles for TAU students to access TAU’s LMS,” said Dr Kumar.
Meanwhile, National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) has called on mobile service providers to reduce prices of internet bundles if e-learning is to be realised in Zambia.
NAQEZ Executive Director Aaron Chansa says cost of internet connectivity is too high for many students and teachers, especially those in rural areas.
He adds that aside from the cost of internet connection, the digital landscape in Zambia is yet to become popular and commended government‘s efforts in providing learning programmes through radio and television.
He, however, said that according to Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), only 38% of Zambia’s population has access to television and only 40% has radio access, meaning that more than half the population is without access to TV or radio learning
Chansa has therefore called on government to invest in more towers to increase television and mobile services. He further called on government and other organizations to come to the aid of teachers and learners by providing radios, televisions or smart phones and other smart devices to ensure continuity of learning.