Great North Road Academy Managing Director Rozious Siatwambo has bemoaned the high levels of resistance to change that has affected the adoption of technology in the education sector.
Dr. Siatwambo said the ‘resilient mindset’ among many Zambians has contributed to slow integration of e-learning in many institutions of learning.
“Zambians are the kind of people that would hold onto a certain belief and they we just don’t easily buy into anything new that comes … This applied to technology too, it will take a bit of time for accept fully embrace it,” Dr. Siatwambo said.
Dr. Siatwambo, who is author of the outspoken ‘Exam made easy’ book however disclosed that his institution is working engaging teachers to make online lessons to ensure that learners easily adapt to the new mode of learning.
“Unlike other e-learning methods of sending notes to students, we are using real time methods were we are teaching right there and there and pupils are able to questions,” he said.
He added: “We have also given an opportunity to those that don’t feel comfortable with siting in classroom by offering GCE classes… We can teach people in far flung places using the internet.”
The Great North Road Academy founder also singled out poor access to internet facilities as well as cost to be another factor that triggers ‘pushback’ from learners.
He further remains optimistic that technology will be integrated into the country’s education system.
Speaking in a separate interview, Minister of Higher Education Brian Mushimba said the his ministry expected the resilience to e-learning as he believes the change management process triggers ‘teasing problems’.
“There are students right now who are pushing back because its just a new normal… They have a mobile phone but they would rather post on Facebook than use the same phone to download homework because we are asking them to do something that they’ve never done before,” Dr. Mushimba said.
He added: “You should have seen how much backlash I received from University of Zambia (UNZA) about the virtual graduation slated for next month… There is a natural resistance to new things.”
The minister reviewed that government is working tirelessly to provide a conducive environment for the roll out of e-learning services.
According to the recent Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Zambia report, it has been established that e-learning ranked lowest in comparison to other sub-sectors of technology such as Agri-tech, Software and Fin tech.