Potraz establishes over 1000 computer labs in schools

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) says it established more than 1 000 computer laboratories in learning institutions countrywide this year.

Plans are underway to establish close to 700 more next year, Potraz director general Gift Machengete said.

He was speaking at the recent launch of the first ever a multi-million dollar rail fiber optic project by international company, Bandwidth and Cloud Services (BCS) Group.

The group is connecting fiber line from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls via Somabhula and Bulawayo.

Machengete said equipping learning institutions with information communication technologies is meant to catalyse the 4th industrial revolution through broadband as the country cannot move without reliable broadband services.

“We have equipped 1 117 school laboratories this year and that includes universities which did not have gadgets. In 2021 there were very few, just above 20, because of lockdown and in 2023, our plans in terms of laboratories is around 695,” said Machengete.

He said a model computer laboratory has 30 computers.

Machengete said the importance of school laboratories especially in rural and hard to reach areas is to bridge the digital divide and enhance access to ICTs.

This is part of the schools project where Potraz has been creating school laboratories especially in the rural areas to promote e-learning and access to internet by learners.

Potraz has also connected 955 clinics with internet broadband countrywide.

The state entity has given 160 computers to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to capacitate vulnerable children under the care of the department of Social Welfare.

Potraz is using the universal services fund for the projects.

Some of the under-served areas in Matabeleland North are Binga and Siabuwa.

“These are underserved areas where the projects will touch lives. The authority will continue to use these roll-out targets as a means to ensure that broadband services are accessible in all parts of the country, improve Zimbabwe international network connections and participation of civic society,” added Machengete.

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