ZINASU calls for digital literacy integration in tertiary education

Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) president Emmanuel Sitimah says it is important to integrate digital literacy across all tertiary education programs to ensure students remain abreast of digital advancements. 

He made these remarks at a high-level education forum themed, “Promoting digital literacy: redefining and remodelling education for the future of work” where he highlighted the growing significance of digital literacy in academia, particularly in light of Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming ubiquitous. 

 “We are now in a fifth industrial revolution where digital literacy is at the centre of everything that we do, we are living in the world where Artificial Intelligence is taking the higher stage, quantum computing, so it’s really important to rope in issues of digital literacy in our academic field. Issues of digital literacy are not just important for students to be digitally illiterate but should be digitally fluent at this stage. AI is taking centre stage in the economy and how things are being run even in the democratic space,” he said. 

Sitimah stressed the necessity for curriculum reforms in institutions of higher learning, urging the government and educational institutions to prioritise enhancing digital infrastructure to facilitate students’ engagement with AI and quantum computing. 

“It’s important for Institutions of Higher Learning to come up with curriculum reform to include issues of digital literacy because if you are to go to institutions which are bit marginalized, maybe in Mashonaland Central where we have a teacher’s college, you will find that you can rarely find a WIFI connectivity or internet connectivity in that Institution so there is need for deliberate move by the government and Institutions of higher learning to improve on digital infrastructure, to try to beef up the infrastructure support, have computers, WIFI connectivity all the time so that we will be able to tap into the world of AI that we are living in, the world of quantum computing we are living in, to be able to rope in and understand the fifth industrial revolution we are faced with as a generation.” 

Sitimah added, “There is also a need to improve and model our curriculum towards issues of digital literacy to say every program we must rope in key concepts and skills of digital literacy, we must have comodules of programs so that even someone who is doing law can understand issues of digital literacy, someone who is doing political science will be able to understand issues of digital literacy, it’s not something that should be confined to those studying sciences and IT alone but everyone as a student should be able to rope in those key concepts because thus where the world is going, we must be able to understand those issues.” 

He said students, parliamentarians, government officials, civil society organisations and other progressive individuals should be able to understand these issues and try to advocate for curriculum reform and infrastructure. 

“We are talking about education 5.0 but you will find that there is no innovation hub at Nyadire Teachers’ College but digital literacy and digital inclusion come with us having innovation hubs, and infrastructure, to be able to give students a platform to rope in those key concepts of digital literacy and digital skills,” said Sitimah. 

Meanwhile, National Youth Development Trust Director, Busi Dube highlighted the widening digital divide accompanying the advent of digital technology. 

“With the incoming of digital technology, we have noticed that there is now a divide, there are those people who are well versed or have easy access to digital platforms and the other community that do not have the easy access to digital platforms, this is where us as CSOs come in with regards to access to information and accessing these digital platforms because we have noticed that without digital capacity, your credentials are not as competitive in the job market,” she said. 

Dube said as CSOs they are advocating and pushing for policy on digitalisation of the tertiary institutions, the primary and secondary education institutions. 

“As CSOs, our job is to raise awareness in communities, we have community meetings with parents, community leaders, traditional leaders in rural areas, all the people who are important, the authorities that help in formulating policy or influence in policy within these communities,” she said. 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button