Malawi govt abandons telecentres in favour of Connect a School Programme — Kazako

The Tonse Alliance administration has abandoned the telecentres projects in favour of an initiative called Connect a School Programme to enhance access to information and communications technology (ICT) in schools.

Elicy Phiri having the first encounter with a computer at Enukweni community telecentre

Zomba Ntonya member of Parliament Ned Poya (United Democratic Front) asked Minister of Information Gospel Kazako to consider constructing a telecentre at Mayaka Trading Centre and Lambulira in his constituency.

But in response, the minister said the Tonse government analysed the telecentre projects and found them wanting because they were heavily politicised in the previous administration.

Government through the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) in collaboration with Malawi Posts Corporation has been implementing various initiatives aimed at promoting access to ICT services.

Some of the ser v i ces offered in telecentres include typing, Internet browsing, scanning, lamination, binding, photocopying, fax and selling of airtime.

Kazako said telecentres have not helped matters in the country as the nation already lost a generation that could have developed the country through the use of ICT; hence, the new administration cannot afford to take a similar path.

He said: “You cannot politicise issues that will help us obtain the future. There has been politics on where to construct, who to construct telecentres for and who to benefit.

“This time around, we want to do things differently, we will be calling the projects either connect a post office or something related, but our preference is the connect a school initiative.”

The minister emphasised that the connect a school initiative is ideal because it will be able to create an enabling environment where students will learn digital matters, saying children as the future of the country, should adopt ICT at a tender age.

Kazako told the House that government will use the Universal Service Fund to implement the Connect a School Programme, adding Malawi needs to move with speed to go digital to catch up with the rest of the world in transacting using technology.

After the minister’s response, some members of Parliament queried what will become of the tendering process to procure implementation of telecentres nationwide.

However, Kazako described the development as residual of the previous administration which will not be accommodated in the new administration.

Government has been implementing ICT for Sustainable Rural Development Project which seeks to provide ICT services to rural and underserved areas of Malawi.

Experts have argued that performance of some telecentres has been poor and not meeting expected goals. They also observed that one of the factors which affect sustainability of telecentres is lack of meaningful stakeholder engagement and relationship in formulating and running such projects.

ICT Association of Malawi president Bram Fudzulani said in an interview yesterday that they have been advocating for the Connect a School Initiative over the years to equip learners with ICT skills for socio-economic development.

He said: “We hope that the government will not just implement the initiative but engage all stakeholders and lay out its plan for input. But it’s a good initiative”.

Through the Connect a School, Macra aims to build ICT systems and infrastructure in public schools where established computer laboratories will provide a platform for learning and acquisition of advanced knowledge and data among learners and teaching staff

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
9 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marcopolo
Marcopolo
2 months ago

For once, may I plead with President Chakwrts to replace Kazako with another capable person with a sound grip of Government policies. I believe Kazako would come in as a better MINISTER OF UNITY and not Information. This is a serious ministry that requires a sober mind and one that knows what diplomacy is all about. You do not just come in and suggest things you do not understand. We as Malawians, would like to know how Telecenters have faired across the country and most importantly again be given numbers on how many telecenters are built in each region of… Read more »

Marcopolo
Marcopolo
2 months ago

Gospel Kazako comes in as a know it all when actually he knows nothing. In a same way MACRA officials have just become so useless because they want to protect their jobs. We have seen documents at the ministry during a meeting we had in Salima where the MACRA Directors were apologising for the telecaster projects. In any country, one would have looked at the best ways of implementing telecenters in this country. How many people will benefit from this initiative in schools in an event that a school is closed for example due to covid? Are college students staying… Read more »

Mbuya
Mbuya
2 months ago

A telecenter is open to the public while connect a school will be restricted to schools. Apa mwapala. Ubwino wake you will be one term government and matsiku akutha awa.

Del
Del
2 months ago

This sort of implementing national development is so retrogressive and NOT showing any enginuity. To me its a crime – where were you when it was implemented? Is your party(ies) new in Malawi? Innovation is for making best of the bad job. Abandoning projects which are already started tells you lacking faculty. Its unfortunate we clap hands even when we see mediocrity. If majority of past regimes’ projects are not good, how much will be cost benefit of abandoned projects vs “project-oganizidwa bho”? Our contemporary countries are developing while we are busy undoing and doing. Cant we innovate on otherwise… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Del
Mwini muzi
Mwini muzi
2 months ago

The telecenters idea is not bad at all because it accommodated all students from primary, secondary and even some private university students. The politicization was on the part of the MPs placing those centers close to their homes. We see if the this option won’t be politicized on one way or another.

Jah
Jah
2 months ago

I feel the way this minister provide his answers is pompous. How sure are we that this can not be politised???? Kuno ku kasungu telecentre aliko even magetsi mpaka kwa kapelula,mdunga koma its a bedrock of mcp. Ngati mwasintha just give honest response on the reason why

Benjones87
Benjones87
2 months ago

Just talks as usual

The Sage
The Sage
2 months ago

Very good move. You can’t expect to excel in ICT by just printing and photocopying. Get rid of those telecentres immediately

Bauleni
Bauleni
2 months ago

Bad move

shares
Read previous post:
Sumbuleta’s sexual harassment assault investigations delays over Covid-19 scare  — MHRC

Malawians will have to wait a little longer to know findings of the investigations into alleged sexual harassment of female...

Close