The 2016 National ICT Policy refers to “e-learning” and information and communication technologies (ICTs) while the 2021-2025 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) mentions “educational technology (EdTech)” and “digital learning”. The 2019-2023 National ICT Policy for Primary and Secondary Education refers to “blended learning” and “Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL)”.
Constitution and laws: The 2013 Constitution (revised 2017) states that government aims to “foster agricultural, commercial, industrial, technological and scientific development” (art.13) and that education is a right (art.75), but no information on education technology has been found. The 1987 Education Act (amended 2019) refers to the “use of emerging technologies in education” (art.69).
Policies, plans and strategies: The 2021-2025 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) aims to adopt innovative technology and Enhance the digitalisation of primary and secondary schools for “Improved access and utilisation of EdTech for remote teaching and blended learning, and Open and Distance e-Learning”.
The 2021-2025 ESSP refers to the 2019-2023 National ICT Policy for Primary and Secondary Education that has a vision of “ICTs being used effectively and efficiently throughout the education sector enabling all learners to achieve their full potential and become productive responsible citizens Zimbabwe ICT policy”. Additionally, it states that “The Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education commits to the use of ICT as an enabler for education to create, promote and sustain the development of a knowledgeable, innovative and creative society which ultimately supports the national agenda of attaining a knowledge-based society”.
The 2016 National ICT Policy states that the “Government of Zimbabwe intends to increase ICT usage in primary and secondary schools through enhanced teaching and learning through ICTs”. It aims to “Enable and foster access to and increased use of telecommunications/ICT in all spheres of life.
Digital competency frameworks: No information has been found.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: In response to the declaration of COVID-19 as a national disaster in Zimbabwe on March 19, 2020, followed by school closures, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) launched the 2020 COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Strategy.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: Zimbabwe’s 2002 Electricity Act does not include any information on electricity access to schools. The 2021-2025 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) proposes to establish an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate school electrification (e.g., Ministry of Energy and Power Development; Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority)).
Computers and devices: The 2021-2025 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) aims to provide schools with ICT equipment, software and furniture, provide mobile computer laboratories and repurpose rooms for computers to enhance the digitalisation of primary and secondary schools.
Internet connectivity: The 2016 National ICT Policy objectives include “universal access to ICT services in the country” that “translates to a 100% Internet penetration” and the “use of the USF to boost connectivity for remotely located schools, to facilitate the e-Learning Programme”. The 2021-2025 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) aims to provide internet connection in schools.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
Open Distance Learning for Non-Formal Education is accelerated learning for Primary and Secondary levels, designed to address the needs of those students who have dropped out of formal schooling or are receiving a second opportunity at education.
The 2020 COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Strategy aimed to limit exposure and transmission of the disease among learners, teachers, staff, and school communities, while ensuring continuity of learning, promoting well-being, and building back better and safer school environments. The strategy has three objectives, which are to ensure continuity of learning, prevent the transmission and spread of COVID-19, and facilitate the safe return to quality learning after the COVID-19 emergency.
To ensure continuity of learning, Alternative Learning Approaches aimed to provide access to learning opportunities, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized children. The approach focused on three interventions, namely, Radio Programmes (ZBC Radio Lessons), Digital and Online Learning (Ruzivo Digital Learning), and the Provision of Supplementary Learning Materials. The strategy also includes the provision of supplementary learning materials, such as storybooks, workbooks, open and distance learning modules, and additional textbooks for learners in remote and inaccessible areas. Parenting resources in multiple languages are also available to support parents in assisting their children's learning during COVID-19.
At a policy level, the 2021-2025 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) aims to promote the creation and use of Open and Distance Learning e-teaching and learning materials, including radio and television lessons.
The 2016 National ICT Policy states that “there is a need to integrate ICTs in the education curricula commencing from early childhood education level” and that one of the goals is to “Facilitate the deployment and exploitation of ICTs in the educational system from primary school upwards” and “ensure there is ICT subjects and courses offered”.
The 2021-2025 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) refers to the inclusion of ICT and STEM subjects in the curricula “an increased uptake and application of STEM/STEAM subjects in the education sector”.
The 2021-2025 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) states that “The implementation of the competence-based curriculum requires that all teachers are trained in its implementation and methodologies. This involves training at the pre-service and in-service levels”.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2021 Data Protection Act No.5 is regulated and enforced by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ). The Act covers breach and data processing notifications to POTRAZ, data security, online conduct, whistleblowers, data transfers, and limited data subject rights.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
Zimbabwe does not have specific legislation on cyberbullying. However, the 2021 data protection act no.5 addresses various aspects of cybersecurity and includes cyberbullying and harassment as electronic communication-related crimes. The 2000 Postal and telecommunication act provides regulations on the use of electronic communications in Zimbabwe. This act prohibits the transmission of offensive, obscene, abusive, or threatening messages using a telecommunications system.
Under the Ministry of Education, the Curriculum Development Unit designs instructional systems and creates multimedia learning materials for schools, while the Centre for Educational Research, Innovation, and Development guides research and innovation related to the use of ICTs in education. The National Library and Documentation Services facilitates the sharing and supply of resources through access to international electronic networks and databases.
The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council sets standards for academic expertise, including ICT.
The Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services develops and manages central government ICT infrastructure and facilitates Presidential e-Learning programs in schools. Finally, the Ministry of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services promotes the use of ICTs and partnered with MoPSE to launch radio lessons.
Individual schools may have policies regarding the use of mobile phones.