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ICT exams compulsory but…

NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
THE Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education says it is compulsory for all Grade Nine pupils to write Information Communication and Technology (ICT) examinations although the subject will not be used for selection to Grade 10.
Permanent secretary Chishimba Nkosha said this is because not all schools have been supplied with computers.
He said had the ministry supplied computers to all schools, computer studies would have also been used for the selection to Grade 10.
Mr Nkosha said the theory part of computer studies examination will be 60 percent while the practical part of it will be 40 percent.
In an interview recently, Mr Nkosha said it was the ministry’s hope to supply computers to all schools before the introduction of computer studies.
“We have faced certain constraints, which have hindered us from supplying computers to all schools. Funding, long procurement procedures and legal battles have been some of the challenges we’ve been facing,” he said.
Mr Nkosha also said despite the limitations, the ministry found it fitting to introduce the subject.
He said the ideal situation is to ensure that pupils are given computers for their hands-on experience.
“If you are teaching pupils about an elephant, the ideal situation is to take them to a zoo or a game park where they can see the real object,” he said.
Mr Nkosha, however said, there are times in the classroom when teachers use simulations or pictures to teach some concepts.
He added that this is the same approach teachers have been using to teach computer studies in schools where there are no computers.
And Mr Nkosha said not all teachers are computer literate, adding that, however, school authorities have identified those that should undergo regular orientation.
He said during this year’s recruitment, teachers who are not computer literate and without teaching background will undergo teaching methodology courses offered by distance learning institutions.
Meanwhile, Mr Nkosha said the ministry has written to Zesco asking for permission to ensure there is no loadshedding when the practical computer exams are in progress.
This year’s Grade Nine pupils will be the first to write ICT examinations from the time the subject was introduced last year under the revised curriculum.

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