By Dr Rozious Siatwambo
WITH Zambian schools set to remain closed for the rest of winter, and with an unknown path ahead for teaching for the remainder of the year, our children are facing a significant education challenge. For many students, particularly those in grades preceding important school transitions such as Grade 7, Grade 9 and Grade 12, this is particularly daunting, as the months lost to lockdown could potentially impact their readiness for next year.
It’s important to note that the time lost in the school year so far cannot be recovered. This will negatively impact all learners across all grades, and the time they have to finish important topics and syllabuses going forward. Students who have remained home have missed out on vast amounts of schoolwork. As a result, work that had to be covered in a single term will now take much longer to complete, adding further pressure to an already strained system. Added to this, many students need the support of their teachers and study groups to grasp key academic concepts. Learning alone, at home, deprives them of this support, making it that much more difficult for them to cope under the current conditions.
There is another critical factor to consider when assessing the impact of lockdown on education, and that is the mounting psychological pressure on students. Mentally and emotionally, our children are feeling the effects of not being in a classroom for months on end. Aside from the possible negative social impact, children’s behaviour has been affected, as they grapple with shifting their attention from progressive academic work to idleness in their communities.
It is against this unfolding backdrop to education in Zambia that I was delighted to hear that MultiChoice Zambia and the Ministry of General Education had taken the lead on e-learning and introduced a comprehensive new education channel called Edu TV. The channel is available on DStv channel 315 and GOtv channel 58, and broadcasts classroom-based learning and life skills programmes for children from primary school to secondary school level, based on the Zambian national curriculum.
This effectively extends national education services to almost every corner of our country, and offers the majority of our learners a valuable opportunity to keep abreast of academic work via TV. Learning through a digital platform like satellite-TV also reinforces the principle of staying home during this pandemic. Looking at this as a model for the future, there is potential for digital innovations to play a significant role in the transformation of Zambia’s education sector. Firstly, we can see this in the way Edu TV was specifically developed to fill the vital learning gap created by Covid-19 and the subsequent national lockdown.
We can also see it in MultiChoice Zambia’s wider bouquet of educational TV channels on DStv. This includes Mindset (channel 319), Mindset Pop (channel 317) and Da Vinci Kids (channel 318). While Mindset and Mindset Pop feature programming covering the entire spectrum of general education, from Early Childhood Learning to the current curriculums of Grades 4 to 9; Da Vinci Kids offers award-winning educational programming that is fun and stimulating, presenting inspired worldly views on important subjects.
Educational innovations like this are helping to change our children’s mindsets around learning, moving them out of the strict classroom landscape into more familiar digital territory. This is absolutely critical in preparing our youth for the innovations that will come in future – learning via video. Educational videos have the potential to provide theory instruction and enhance skills development, and as we have seen during lockdown, can be broadcast on multiple platforms, from TV to social and other online media.
While the future for lesson delivery will largely depend on how much capacity we can build into new technology systems, online is certainly one of the biggest future learning avenues Zambia will look to fully embracing. The launch of Edu TV on DStv and GOtv could not have come at more appropriate time. Considering the number of subscribers on these two platforms, the positive contribution this channel – along with DStv’s additional educational channels – will make in ensuring scholastic continuity during this difficult time cannot be overemphasised.
Learning is not attained by chance, it is attained through hard work and diligence. Technology, online and television-based learning broadens the arena in which we can encourage such hard work and diligence. These platforms provide invaluable support to Zambian educators, ultimately helping us to achieve our global education goals.
Dr Rozious Siatwambo is founder and CEO of Great North Road Academy Group of Companies, which includes Great North Road Academy, one of the leading private schools in Zambia. Dr Siatwambo is also an author, mentor and motivational speaker.
ERB lowers fuel prices amid Kwacha appreciation
THE Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has announced a downward adjustment in the prices of petrol, diesel, and jet A-I, bringing relief to consumers.
Effective midnight, petrol will be priced at K31.12 per litre, diesel at K28.78 per litre, and jet A-I at K28.23 per litre.
However, the price of kerosene will remain unchanged at K20.44 per litre.
The reduction in the prices have been attributed to the appreciation of the Kwacha which outweighed the increase in international oil prices therefore warranting a reduction in the domestic wholesale and pump prices of petroleum products.
ERB Board chairperson Reynolds Bowa said the price of kerosene has been maintained, adding that the decision on kerosene pricing will be reviewed consistent with the national supply and demand situation.
In a statement, Mr Bowa said over the review period, the Kwacha significantly appreciated against the United States Dollar.
“On average the exchange rate appreciated 14.4 percent. The appreciation was mainly attributed to interest rate hike by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) and the directive that commercial banks hold back more funds in reserve. Furthermore, BoZ made available additional United States Dollars to the market,” he said.
Mr Bowa said the prices will come into effect at midnight and shall remain in effect until revised by the ERB.
He however said during the month of February the prices of oil on the international market increased.
Mr Bowa said the increase was mainly attributed to supply disruptions arising from geopolitical tensions in the Middle East which led to tightened supply of the commodity.
Meanwhile, the ERB in line with the Energy Policy has developed a bio-fuels pricing framework that will be used on blended fuel.
Mr Bowa said the growth of the biofuel industry will foster security of supply of petroleum products.
“Currently, a pilot phase for bio-ethanol trading has commenced and ERB will give periodic updates on how this programme is unfolding.” he said.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 29th February, 2024)
ACC nab senior accountant, businessman
A LUSAKA based senior accountant has been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) alongside a business man for possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Kasemuka Chiteta, a senior accountant stationed at police headquarters has since been charged with one count of possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime.
ACC head of corporate communications Timothy Moono said in a statement that Kasemuka Chiteta on dates unknown but between 7th April, 2023 and 12th February 2024 in Lusaka District, concealed possession of a motor vehicle namely Toyota Landcruiser BAD4360 registered under the ownership of Chimuka Chibawe a Lusaka based businessman.
“In a similar development, the ACC has arrested and charged a Lusaka based businessman, Chimuka Chibawe of plot No. 136 C Kalomo road Chilenje” Mr Moono said.
He said Mr Chibawe has been charged with one count of Possession of Property Suspected of Being Proceeds of Crime contrary to Section 71 (1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act No. 19 of 2010.
“Details of the offence are that, Chimuka Chibawe on dates unknown but between 7th April, 2023 and 12thFebruary 2024 in Lusaka, concealed possession of a motor vehicle namely Toyota Landcruiser BAD4360 registered under his names when the beneficial owner is Mr. Kasemuka Chiteta a Senior Accountant at Police Service Headquarters,” he said.
The pair has since been released on bond pending court appearance.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 29th February, 2024)
Experience the Next Level of great entertainment with DStv Step Up!
IT’s February and still feels like Jan-worry, but we have just the thing for you! Introducing the Step Up campaign, designed to elevate your viewing experience without breaking the bank. Welcome to the big leagues of entertainment!
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What is the Step Up Campaign?
Step Up is a limited-time offer for DStv subscribers. During this campaign, subscribers can upgrade their package to a higher tier and receive a further upgrade to an even higher package within 48 hours of payment. It’s like getting a premium experience at a fraction of the cost, courtesy of DStv!
How does it work?
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