Editor's Comment

ICT should be a joy, not anguish

A TEACHER supervises pupils in computer lessons.

THE Ministry of Education cannot be faulted for introducing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the school curriculum.
ICTs are important because they help both teachers and pupils in the teaching and learning processes.
Besides, ICTs have become part of our daily life as could be seen in the usage of automated teller machines, cell phones and other gadgets. This is also evidenced in ever-increasing on-line interaction in socio-economic activities such as financial transactions.
Knowledge of ICTs helps Grade 9 and Grade 12 drop-outs find jobs in internet cafes, supermarkets and other industries.
With ICT usage becoming inevitable, it became necessary for education authorities to introduce it in the curriculum two years ago.
However, the administration of ICT examinations still leaves much to be desired.
The first edition of the examinations left many pupils traumatised after they were made to spend nights in classes awaiting their turn to write the exams.
This did not please parents despite an apology from the Ministry of Education. The nation genuinely believed that such handling of the ICT examinations would never recur.
As such, it is displeasing to receive reports that a 16-year-old Grade Nine female pupil of Chingola Primary School fractured her arms after jumping through a classroom window to go and relieve herself.
In this day and age, it is unnecessary to lock up pupils in a classroom as a way of waiting for their turns to write computer studies examinations, or indeed any other exam.
So, the 16-year-old pupil, Bertha Katungula, who was admitted to Nchanga North General Hospital on Wednesday, becomes the face of another dent on ICT examinations.
Because of the injuries, Katungula has not written the computer examinations and efforts are being made to have her write the exams, which end on Monday.
It is illogical for school authorities to lock up pupils in a classroom from 09:00 hours to 13:00 hours without taking into consideration their need to answer the call of nature.
Pupils are not criminals who should be subjected to such treatment.
While Katungula suffered physical injuries, several other pupils undoubtedly suffered emotionally from the unfortunate incidence.
ICT examinations are not a matter of life and death.
They should be administered by schools with adequate computers.
Schools which do not have adequate computers to cater for all streams should make the courses optional.
That is not to say that pupils should not be taught but rather only a certain number should be examinable.
Schools could hold mock exams to select the pupils who would write the final ICT examinations in situations where they have limited computers.
The Ministry of Education has made notable improvements in the administration of the ICT exams this year as evidenced by a significant supply of computers.
There is, however, still lots of room for improvement and we hope that this latest glitch will be thoroughly reviewed and a permanent solution found for it.
ICT should give us joy, not anguish.

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