The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube and Sallomy Matare, Chronicle Reporters

VICTORIA Falls Primary School was yesterday commissioned as the first ever model education innovation hub in the country.

It also becomes the only such facility at a primary school in Africa, it was revealed at the event.

The First Lady Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa who was recently elected the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) vice president, partnered US based Matter Foundation and Victoria Falls’ Love for Africa to come up with the project through her organisation Angel of Hope Foundation.

Local telecommunications parastatal TelOne chipped in with wifi services.

Officially opening the facility which is equipped with state- of- the art TV screens and Ipads for use by pupils and teachers, Amai Mnangagwa said it is a pilot project and many others will be opened countrywide.

“This is an exciting project we want to roll out to the rest of the country. The hub I am officially handing today was made possible through partnership with America based Matter Foundation and Love for Africa of Victoria Falls. 

“Through the Angel of Hope Foundation and my partners, we have a plan to have more hubs throughout the country so that those areas which traditionally do not have access to computers and coding skills for children will now have a smart solution which doesn’t require traditional electricity,” she said.

The facility is solar powered and is fitted with a battery with a lifespan of 10 years hence learning activities will not be affected by Zesa power outages. 

It promotes clean energy, education, technology, skills development and access to services for children.

Amai Mnangagwa said the project is in line with the goals of Angel of Hope Foundation.

 “The innovation hub is a 21st century classroom designed within a shipping container. It is solar powered and uses clean and renewable solar energy. The classroom is forward thinking, progressive and will go a long way to ensure exposure to young people throughout Victoria Falls,” said the First Lady.

“The hub provides a sustainable learning environment to gradually shift the model of teaching and learning to a student-centred approach, creating enriching, engaging and personalised learning opportunities for any pupil regardless of conditions.” 

Amai Mnangagwa encouraged Zimbabweans to embrace information technology as a gateway to the future and to acquire skills needed in the industry and business.

She appealed to internet service providers for partnerships.

The First Lady also implored pupils and the community to use the facility responsibly. 

Representing Love for Africa, Mr Blessing Munyenyiwa said they started humanitarian projects four years ago and are proud to partner Angel of Hope Foundation.

“We want to thank you First Lady for the work that you are doing for the people of Zimbabwe. We started four years ago and then partnered with Mr Quenton Marty who is president of Matter Foundation as we target nutritional gardens and education services,” he said.

Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Mpofu who was representing the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Permanent Secretary Ms Tumisang Thabela said the innovation hub will go a long way in promoting student centred learning as well as capacitate teachers with computer skills. 

“This came at the right time when the Ministry is reviewing its curriculum,” he said.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Richard Moyo concurred saying the innovation hub will go a long way in improving access to education.

He challenged citizens to play their part by fully utilising  such facilities.—@ncubeleon