Leonard Ncube and Sallomy Matare
VICTORIA Falls Primary School was yesterday commissioned as the first ever model education innovation hub in the country.
It also becomes the only such facility in learning institutions in Africa, it was revealed at the event.
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, who was recently elected the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) vice president, partnered US-based Matter Foundation and Victoria Falls’ Love for Africa to come up with the project, through her organisation Angel of Hope Foundation.
Local telecommunicationsparastatal TelOne chipped in with WiFi services.
Officially opening the facility at Victoria Falls Primary School, which is equipped with state-of-the-art flat TV screens and iPads for use by pupils and teachers, Amai Mnangagwa said it was a pilot project and many others will be opened countrywide.
“This is an exciting project we want to roll out to the rest of the country,” she said. “The hub I am officially handing over today was made possible through partnership with America based Matter Foundation and Love for Africa of Victoria Falls.
“Through the Angel of Hope Foundation and my partners, we have a plan to have more hubs throughout the country so that those areas which traditionally do not have access to computers and coding skills for children will now have a smart solution which doesn’t require traditional electricity.”
The facility is solar-powered and is fitted with a battery whose lifespan is 10 years, hence learning activities will not be affected by electricity outages.
It promotes clean energy, education, technology, skills development and access to services for children.
Amai Mnangagwa said the project was in line with the goals of Angels of Hope Foundation on the pillar of education.
“The innovation hub is a 21st Century classroom designed within a shipping container,” she said. “It is solar-powered and uses clean and renewable solar energy. The classroom is forward thinking, progressive and will go a long way to ensure exposure to young people throughout Victoria Falls.
“The hub provides a sustainable learning environment to gradually shift the model of teaching and learning to a student-centred approach, creating enriching, engaging and personalised learning opportunities for any student regardless of conditions.”
Amai Mnangagwa encouraged Zimbabweans to embrace information technology as a gateway to the future and to acquire skills needed in the industry and business.
She appealed to Internet service providers for partnerships.
Amai Mnangagwa implored pupils and the community to use the facility responsibly.
Representing Love for Africa, Mr Blessing Munyenyiwa, said they started humanitarian projects four years ago and were proud to partner Angel of Hope Foundation.
“We want to thank you First Lady for the work that you are doing for the people of Zimbabwe,” he said. “We started four years ago and then partnered with Mr Quenton Marty who is president of Matter Foundation as we target nutritional gardens and education service.”
Matabeleland North provincial education director Mr Jabulani Mpofu, who was representing the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Ms Tumisang Thabela, said the innovation hub will go a long way in promoting pupil-centred learning, as well as capacitate teachers with computer skills.
“This came at the right time when the Ministry is reviewing its curriculum, hence it will enhance education,” he said.
Matabeleland North provincial Minister Richard Moyo said the innovation hub will go a long way in improving access to education.
He challenged citizens to play a part by taking charge of such projects through utilising them.