Aug 26 — 2 mins read

By Tanyaradzwa Mutizwa

THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) is calling for inclusivity in the virtual learning system that has been adopted by Government especially regarding the students living with disabilities.

PTUZ National secretary for young teachers, Mr Lovejoy Sibanda, during a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Zimbabwe Youth Sustainable Development Goals (ZYSDG) themed “Impact of Covid 19 to the Quality of Education in Zimbabwe”, emphasised the need for government to take into account the plight of students living with disabilities so that the can also be included in these virtual lessons.

“It is very sad to note that this virtual learning system has created divisions among the students’ body in the nation. It is a great advantage for the able bodied students who can either listen in to the radio lessons or engage with the teachers either through texts or videos but their visually impaired colleagues and those that are blind can not enjoy the same benefits,” he said.

Mr Sibanda called for measures that would help students living with disabilities to cope with the new way of learning and to avoid leaving them behind.

“We should all work on making sure that everyone is included, introducing television lessons with sign language interpretation would be a good start so that all the students will be able to move forward with the syllabus at the same pace,” said Mr Sibanda.

“Government should constantly engage stakeholders in the education sector so that we also air our views and help in making the education sector of the country better and also improve the quality of education being offered in the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the issue of data was another major highlight of the discussion.

University of Zimbabwe Lecturer Dr Thebeth Masunda who was also a panellist said the issues of data are a problem for both the students and the lecturers because when the semester started no one had planned for a virtual type of learning and so no budget was put in place for that.

 “Data is a major hindrance to the success of these virtual lessons because most students cannot afford the exorbitant prices being charged by network providers and thus they end up on taking part in the virtual lessons which then makes it hard for the lecturer to teach a few students who can afford data and leave out the rest of the class,” she said.