Zimbabwe launches school radio lessons programme

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Information Ministry Permanent Secretary Nick Mnangagwa

THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has launched a School Radio Programme at ZBC Pockets Hill this Wednesday as a means of mitigating against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education system.

Speaking during the launch, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Tumisang Thabela said it is important to ensure the safety of learners so as to increase access to quality education.

“The protection of learners, teachers, workers and educational facilities has remained our primary concern in our effort to increase access to quality and inclusive education. However, care must also be taken to avoid transmission as we offer our educational services, “she said.

Thabela explained how the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education saw it fit to explore alternative ways of providing education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ministry in its efforts to ensure continued learning for all learners continues to explore alternative channels of providing teaching and learning products through a home-grown school away from school basket of strategies,” she explained.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mrs Tumisang Thabela

She also said that the ministry is developing other learning methods to buttress the radio learning programme.

“We aim to ensure that even if schools remain closed beyond the anticipated period there will be alternative platforms that ensure the continuity of learning in the face of the pandemic. Among other strategies the Ministry is developing emergency learning modules, radio, tv lessons and E-learning materials for learners to use at least for six months.”

Turning to the use of technology the ministry highlighted that it has not been left behind in embracing its use.

“Our curriculum is clear on the value we place on ICT and we want to fast track curriculum implementation through relevant technology that will increase access to education,” she noted.

Speaking during the same event the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana said the lessons will have a positive impact on the economy while imploring broadcasters to complement the Ministry of Primary Education’s initiative.

“The lessons will have a positive impact on the community while at the same time improving radio coverage & transmission. I urge ZBC and other broadcasters to continue delivering Online lessons even after the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Information Ministry Permanent Secretary Nick Mnangagwa

ZBC Acting CEO Helliate Rushwaya said the National FM on its launch in the 80s was meant to be an educational channel as part of the broadcaster’s mandate to ensure education, entertainment and inform the nation.

The station broadcasts in all the 16 indigenous national languages hence Rushwaya said it would continue to offer e-learning classes and radio lessons in those indigenous national languages while other stations PowerFM, Classic FM, Radio Zimbabwe, community stations including Khulumani FM and ZBC television were also expected to provide lessons as well as at a later stage.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education reached an agreement with the national broadcaster ZBC to have school lessons broadcast on its radio stations due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus which was declared a Public Health Emergency and has thus disrupted the smooth running of the country’s education system.

National FM is a ZBC radio station which broadcasts Barwe, Chewa, Chikunda, Doma, Hwesa, Kalanga, Khoisan, Nambya, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, Tonga, Venda, Tswana and Xhosa national languages as enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe.

The station’s primary target is 25-55 years with 12-24 years and 55 years all above 55 as our secondary target. National Fm is an edutainment radio channel with a split of 60% music and 40% talk. It offers an interactive environment with listeners providing a mixture of news, music, current affairs, talk shows, education, sport, weather and traffic.

The station consists of Sungura, Rhumba, Gospel Music, Zimdancehall, Urban Groove, Mbaqanga, jazz, Kwaito, House, Traditional and African Music. National Fm was established in 2002 as a full spectrum radio station, broadcasting in the above-mentioned languages with the exception of Ndau, Khoisan, Tswana which were later introduced after the 2013 constitutional amendment number 20 which recognized these languages as official.-zbc

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