Zimbabwe, Southern Africa and the world at large was forced to close schools among other things so as to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
However, although closing schools was a great move, it has left most students vulnerable especially those who are set to sit for their finals this year.
Since education has been affected by the lockdown, as students are unable to go back to school, e-learning seems to be the only available solution for learners to go on with their studies. Unfortunately in countries like Zimbabwe, not every child can afford the internet as the data tariffs are not affordable to many.
There have been concerns over high data prices in Zimbabwe. As a result, many students are unable to take part in e-learning, hence the need for a review in the data prizes.
In addition, while Zimbabwe has a high mobile phone penetration of over 90 per cent, access to internet is a challenge for many due to the prohibitive cost of data especially in rural areas.
To address this inequality in access to information and bridge the digital divide, UNICEF Zimbabwe in partnership with Econet Wireless launched the Internet of Good Things early June 2020 which included a free virtual concert through Facebook Live with a simulcast on a national radio station.
Schools, Universities and training centres can elect representatives responsible for compiling the list of names of students interested in purchasing the data and paying on their behalf. The data is processed in batches of 50s and the e-learning bundles which are valid for 30days are priced at $200 and $350 for 10240mb and 20480mb respectively.
The data cost breakdown is as follows:
Each school pays on behalf of its students/teachers/employees and collects money from parents or SDA’s. The school provides mobile phone numbers to be credited with the data bundles to Econet which meansEconet only deals with the schools.
Not to be outdone, Netone also introduced a cheaper e-learning bundle at ZW$250 for 20GB and students wanting to buy the bundle will be able to do so at NetOne shops on producing student IDs.