Village Rhapsody: by Evans Mathanda – Zimbabwe must catch up on innovation and technology
The fact that the global economy is moving towards digital and surviving the information age requires innovative means and minds.
Nokia has come and gone due to its inability to adapt to the new world where digital Darwinism is thriving.
Thanks to technology, we can now travel virtually abroad.
Taking a closer look at Zimbabwe, it is evident that we are still a long way from digital transformation.
Nowadays, we still struggle to process requests virtually.
We constantly receive error messages from our banks.
Our mobile networks are unreliable, of which network connection is a basic requirement for internet connection.
We always line up at the banks to do simple transactions.
The long lines at the Registrar General’s office indicate that we haven’t moved much in terms of technological development.
In general, technology is seen as an expensive type of development that has seen some African countries, especially Zimbabwe, fall behind due to lack of adequate resources and possibly the type of technology that is difficult to adapt.
Appropriate technology should be recommended in countries where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line.
With the onset of Covid-19, social media has quickly become a crucial communication tool for education and development.
Despite the restrictions linked to Covid-19, the world must progress in all spheres of the economy.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the education sector, particularly in developing countries.
Vulnerable groups like the poor are the most affected in the digital age.
Different digital platforms are now used as a means of communication between students and teachers.
Many students use the WhatsApp social network to communicate with their teachers. The FacebookThe owned platform is said to be the most popular and affordable messaging app in Zimbabwe, with around 5.2 million users.
Zimbabwean teachers have spent most of the past year leading WhatsApp tutorials since schools were closed due to the pandemic.
This development affects the learning of millions of students since some cannot afford to buy even by the week. WhatsApp bundles.
The majority of teachers are incapacitated due to financial problems, buying data packages out of pocket is a difficult proposition.
It is reported that WhatsApp will stop working on phones running systems older than Android OS 4.1, Apple iOS 10, and KaiOS 2.5.1.
An upgrade could be difficult for some Zimbabweans who even find it difficult to buy WhatsApp bundles.
Thinking of some children in remote areas, implementing e-learning could take years.
With the cost of smartphones, getting one can be difficult for parents and guardians in rural areas.
Therefore, it is unfair to expect O’Level students in remote areas to produce the same results as those in urban areas where one can sometimes get free ZOL Wi-Fi hotspots.
Of course, e-learning isn’t new to some people, but it has become the only option during the time of Covid-19.
The government must have a plan to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of resources to promote e-learning in all education sectors in Zimbabwe.
It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that there is quality education.
Access to information is a human right.
It appears that Covid-19 has driven innovation through technology.
A number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Harare are now resorting to the use of WhatsApp to market their products amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed a nationwide lockdown in March last year.
Non-essential service providers were encouraged to work from home.
Working at home requires certain technicalities to which some still find it difficult to adapt.
But some are still learning because the Covid-19 situation has brought about changes.
Anything that promotes social distancing is strongly recommended to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Using the Zoom app was new to some people.
Zoom Cloud Meetings is proprietary video conferencing software developed by Zoom Video Communications.
The free plan allows up to 100 simultaneous participants.
Switching from the boardroom to Zoom meetings seems like a challenge as some people are still struggling to connect to Zoom meetings.
The Covid-19 pandemic has required the use of digital space to enable the progress of society.
Thanks to Twitter for the development of Twitter spaces that allow thousands of people to meet in the comfort of their homes. Such a development could have been implemented to promote social distancing.
According to the microblogging site, Twitter spaces were invented to allow conversations about users and their content to be optimal on Twitter.
Now that users can tweet and talk, people can freely chat and debate issues without having to physically meet.
Spaces unlock conversations on Twitter with the depth and power that only the human voice can bring.
These ephemeral, live audio conversations enable open, authentic and unfiltered discussions.
This is all the more interesting as there is space for all topics and conversations, from the smallest and most intimate to the millions of listeners who can follow the discussions from the comfort of their own homes.
Award-winning director and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chino’no moderated several discussions.
Some of the discussions included participants like Nelson Chamisa, who is the leader of the MDC Alliance and former Minister of Higher Education, Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Technology is usually introduced in stages, especially after identifying a need or a gap that can be filled by technology and development.
Problem analysis can help develop new technological systems.
The government’s decision to reintroduce the old and dilapidated commuter rail system in partnership with the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (Zupco) has exposed Zimbabwe’s lethargic approach to adopting new technological systems.
As some countries move towards the development of high-speed trains, the government of Zimbabwe has surprised its citizens by introducing trains that were put into service during the time of former Rhodesian President Ian Smith.
In short, the Mnangagwa regime brought people back to the 1960s.
Zupco’s monopoly and inability could have forced the government to reintroduce the unpopular old and tired commuter train system.
But is it a better alternative? Are we moving towards Vision 2030?
- Evans Mathanda is a journalist and development practitioner who writes in a personal capacity. For email comments: [email protected] or call 0719770038 and Twitter @EvansMathanda19