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mulonga.net >> IT Centers >> Stakeholders Update April 2003
Stakeholders Update April 2003
Wednesday, 02 April 2003 00:00

The ITC at Binga High School has been pulsating with life since the beginning of term, when the new O Level Computer Science classes commenced. For the first time in Binga, students have the opportunity to study and qualify in an important field which has already become commonplace in other parts of Zimbabwe and the rest of the world. Form 3 students commenced the syllabus this January.

Timetable - During the school term the timetable focuses on students needs, but with the approach of the holidays, more focus is given to public training. The timetable has been adjusted to suit the needs of users, with most of the working hours taken up by students, and internet connection and public courses in the evenings.

Personnel - The new Computer Science teacher, Mr Blessmore 'BZ' Siasweka has joined in very well with the existing team, and is enjoying the opportunity to share his knowledge with others. The addition of BZ to the team has effectively doubled the ITC's training capacity.

Training - at the end of February, 139 people of Binga had received Basic Introduction to Computers training, since courses commenced in May 2002. Of these, there have been 73 males, 66 females; 5 children in the 6-12 age group, and one person in the 51-60 age group. The demand is still growing and whereas students were previously trained on a one-to-one basis, group training is now being undertaken. The school holidays which begin on 9 April provide the opportunity for more intensive training for target groups and the general public. Target groups include National Museums and Monuments who are presently coordinating Museums Staff from throughout Zimbabwe to receive introductory training at the Binga ITC. Other target groups are Save the Children, Camfed and the second Stakeholders Special Course will be held in April. Details and invitations to be given shortly. A Children's holiday course will be advertised, which will include introduction to the computer, games, computer art, letter writing and introduction to a website specially for children and youth. Teachers from schools of the proposed Satellite Centres (Siachilaba Primary and Sianzyundu Secondary) are also scheduled for training during the holidays.

Equipment - In February it was agreed to trade in the internal modem, which was not working well for internet connection. During this time, Stefan Hecke of Horizon 3000 kindly loaned his computer for good internet connection. Arachnid Designs of Bulawayo generously traded the modem in for an external model, the balance owing being $100 000, which has been paid. The new modem is working well. The recently purchased surge protectors have worked well in the rainy season.

Finances - Fees were raised slightly to keep up with rising inflation and costs. Costs are now : Introd to Computers Course $1500; Internet per min $10 and $20 out of normal hours. This has enabled the ITC to remain self-sufficient and pay all dues. The cost of computer time per hour is still less than a soft drink. From accounts prepared to end January, it is obvious that the highest expenditure is the telephone account, followed by stationery, although a stationery levy has been charged by the school for the O Level class. The biggest income generator is training. It has been decided that a percentage of all income be put aside for depreciation, although with replacement costs being so high, this is very small effort to prepare for technical problems, and should be revised periodically as the ITC grows.

Proposed Satellite Centres - The ZESA Rural Electrification Agency have visited the Siachilaba Primary School and confirmed that electrification of the school is one of their first priorities in this area. Work will commence as soon as materials are available. In the meantime a quotation of Z$11.6 million has been received for the refurbishment of two classrooms at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu Secondary schools. A proposal using the same quotation has been submitted to several potential donors in an effort to raise support for the schools, whose part in the project is to provide a management committee and refurbished and secure classroom for the computers. Any assistance and/or suggestions regarding this support will be gratefully received. Both schools have held meetings with the community to nominate and elect their management committees, which will at all meetings include a member of the ZRP from Siachilaba. Fund-raising has already begun at both schools, and Siachilaba has received a start-up donation of Z$40 000 from Kunzwana Trust. Needs of the schools are ceilings, burglar bars, fans, plug points and wiring, paint, desks and chairs.

Crafts - In an effort to boost income generation in Siachilaba, buyers are being sought to create a market for Tonga baskets and beadwork which are extremely attractive to the overseas market. Because export and freight formalities are difficult and expensive, it was found easier to deal with a local buyer in Harare, who has already placed a larger order with the women of Siachilaba. In an effort to revive and promote the beautiful Tonga beadwork, various institutions are being approached to sponsor/purchase sets of beads, including Museums throughout the country. All contacts, quotations, invoicing and communication with the buyer is being done via the internet, which proves the potential of the internet for changing peoples lives and securing much needed income. Penny Yon is the liaison person between the community and the buyer in Harare, and has been tasked by the buyer to ensure quality control.

Binga High Ex-Scholars - Through the website www.mulonga.net, many enquiries have been received regarding the establishment of a Binga Ex Scholars association, from various ex-students of the school in different parts of the world. The ITC are at present collecting names and contact details of any interested ex-scholars to create a database, and an "Alumni Discussion Forum" has been set up on the website to welcome contacts and give information on the school. This has been a long time ambition of the school, and once information has been gathered, a committee can be formed to agree on operations and activities.

May 2003 Visit Postponed - It is regretted that due to the prevailing political climate and fuel situation, the proposed visit of Peter Kuthan (Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association), Klaus Hollinetz and Michael Pilz, which was planned for 3-11 May 2003, has been postponed until later in the year. Some preparatory work will continue by means of mailing and Internet communication. Apologies to those who are inconvenienced - please consider all bookings made in respect of this visit, cancelled. Apologies to Batonga and Choma Museums for the disruption of plans, and to all Binga authorities for wastage of their time in preparatory talks. We are very sorry that the cancellation means also some loss of income to musicians and craftspeople. Thanks to all concerned for their interest and support. We regret that this cancellation is due to circumstances which are beyond our control, but we will enjoy the extra time to prepare for a good visit when Zimbabwe is more peaceful.

Needs & Support - The participation and support of all stakeholders is extremely important to the centre, if it is to be self-sustaining and grow from strength to strength for the people of Binga. Access to computers and information has already strengthened the community, and gives them the opportunity to 'catch up' with the rest of Zimbabwe in terms of technology, general education and skills for employment.

Thanks to:

  • Stefan Hecke for use of his computer during modem problems.
  • Tel one for assistance with new telephone line for Kunzwana.
  • ZESA for advance warnings of power cuts.
  • ZESA Rural Electrification Agency for prioritizing Siachilaba.
  • Arachnid Design and Dr Gary Brooking for assistance with equipment and advice.
  • ZRP for cooperation and presence at meetings.
  • Headmasters at Siachilaba and Sianzyundu for their full cooperation and eagerness to get their schools ready to receive computers from Austria.
  • Lake Captain for assistance re postponed Zambia visit.

 

Needs - The following are some continuing needs of the centre. Please consider if your organisation is able to assist :

  • Bond paper
  • Printer ribbons/Laser printer
  • Repair of existing fans
  • Electrification of Siachilaba Primary School
  • Telephone line for Siachilaba Primary School
  • Building materials, burglar bars and fans for Siachilaba and Siansundu schools

 

New Contact Details - For ease of communication, Kunzwana Trust now has a new telephone number and email address:
Tel 015-573 and email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The ITC can also be reached through This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Kunzwana Trust has offered the school use of a fax machine on Tel 573.

Please continue to give this important project your good support. We will be happy to assist you in your IT and training needs, and look forward to a good year ahead.

PENNY YON
Tonga.Online

SIMILO NCUBE
Headmaster, Binga High School


BINGA INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CENTRE
Binga High School,
Post Bag 5722, Binga
Tel 015-358 / 573
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