Applying ICTs to empower education and learning about ICTs in schools, are considered to be a necessity to overcome challenges facing the education sector in Tanzania.
The government of the United Republic of Tanzania through the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology and two strategic development partners, which are the French government through the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs who are sponsors and coordinators of the project. Also in the project are the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), who provided support in coordinating the procurement of the ICT equipment.
It organised stakeholder conferences, capacity building programmes and issues tailored for ICT in education. Recently, the two jointly launched the E- Schools connectivity project at Jangwani Girl’s Secondary School in Dar es Salaam titled “connect a school, connect community”(CSCC) in Tanzania.
The CSCC project, which has cost about Sh 800 million is implemented following the National School Connectivity Plan (NSCP) between the government and the ITU. This is an initiative to achieve global targets such as the millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Action plan targets and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities.
It also aims to achieve national goals like the National Vision 2025, recently developed Tanzania National Schools Connectivity Plan (NSCP). Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are a must and are becoming more and more integrated in society. Implementation of the CSCC envisages a great success in the near future. The ICT equipment for the first six centres were delivered and installed between October 2010 and February 2011.
In July, 2012 MDGs delivered and installed ICT equipment in twenty nine (29) centres, schools, postal offices and health centres. Twenty more other centres have been identified and already included in the project, making the total number of schools to be forty nine. The target of the project is to have samples from 300 schools (out of 3,500 centres) by 2013. The MDG is equipping these schools ready for piloting a bigger project.
The Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology (MCST) is implementing the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, the Prime Minister’s Office- Regional Administration and Local Government and ITU for the targeted schools/ centres, will eventually scale the CSCC project to become “Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow” by December, 2012.
The e-Schools project is a programme aimed at equipping a number of Tanzanian secondary schools with ICT facilities to enable teachers to use and teach ICTs for a better and more efficient education system. Its other objectives are to improve ICT access and use by school children and members of the local community around the schools/centres including the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in remote, rural or underserved areas.
In the project, the ministry (MCST) is providing technical assistance to install ICT equipment and train ICT personnel in the centres. “It will connect these centres to broadband internet,” says Engineer, Dr Zaipuna Yonah in a speech of the Director for Information and Technologies , read on behalf of Deputy Minister, January Makamba.
To enable the success of the project, the ministry, among other things, provided technical expertise to the project by delivering the ICT equipment to the centres. It performed the installation and commissioning of the equipment, trained ICT teachers of different schools and provided daily support to the centres. It, likewise, provided Point of Sales, subscriptions, purchase of electricity, water and internet vouchers to the community.
Likewise, it fostered sustainability of the project. Speaking during the launch of the project, the head of Cooperation and Cultural Affairs from French Embassy to Tanzania, Francois Leonardi, said that France was profoundly involved in the education sector in Tanzania. He added that the assistance aimed at enhancing both qualitative and quantitative means of learning of students to overcome the challenges in the education system in the country.
All these efforts are meant to support education in Tanzania, assist and advise and where possible, to ensure better education and prosperity for all Tanzanians. “Knowledge sharing and an inclusive open attitude are key to success,” he added. He said, with a strong political will and enough backing, the e-schools project will transform Tanzania’s education sector. “That can be done provided everyone plays their part,” he noted.
Other African countries that have implemented the project are beginning to reap the benefits with massive support from the government and private players.
By MOHAMED MAMBO, Tanzania Daily News