In 2020, Zimbabwe just like other countries went on a lockdown, closing down businesses and facilities that allowed people to crowd and left essential services.
Educational facilities, including schools, which closed earlier and universities, went on a prolonged break that lasted for over six months. Due to banned face to face interactions, the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry launched three software applications that enabled children to learn online. These include Learning Passport, MoPSE E-Library and Dzidzo Paden|Imfundwe’ndlini Apps.
Learning Passport App
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with Microsoft launched the Learning Passport app in Zimbabwe on 11th March 2021. The application addresses the challenges faced by millions of children and youth worldwide to access continued, quality education in times of crisis and when access is limited to traditional learning. The Learning Passport can be downloaded on smartphones through the Google Playstore.
To access the educational staff on the Learning Passport, you have to first register, using Zimbabwe’s phone number. After registering you can get access to lessons and revision materials for pupils from infantry to upper secondary learners. The materials include audio and radio lessons, visuals and text.
MOPSE E-Library App
The government, through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, partnered with a Spanish-based company, ODILO launched the MoPSE e-library in August 2020. The applications will give learners access to multimedia content curated from more than 3 million titles supplied by over 5,300 international content providers. MoPSE is actually an abbreviation for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. The application can also be downloaded on Google Play and Apple App Store.
Content can be safely accessed offline and the applications will work on any devices – computers, tablets and mobile phones, from school, home and anywhere else 24/7. Students will have access to an extensive catalog of “enriched” titles and interactive learning plans designed for each level by the ODILO’s team of learning experts. Teachers will be able to save time, re-use and even customize these plans for their classes. The application also provides a secure way to upload and distribute the Ministry’s content, and that from local publishers, while protecting their copyrights and controlling access. Content recommendations will be curated for each user, and be comprehensive, covering topics for learners of all ages from ECD A to Upper 6.
Dzidzo Paden| Imfundwe’ndlini App
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) in partnership with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) launched a WhatsApp-based educational application, Dzidzo Paden|Imfundwe’ndlini, on Monday 23 November 2020 in Harare. The application that was developed by an Advanced Level (A-Level) student is a Whatsapp automated chatbot aimed at distributing premium academic resources to learners who have limited or no access to the internet but have access to WhatsApp.
The chatbot provides curriculum-aligned academic resources like; notes, past exam papers, and marking schemes for Grade 7s, Form 4s, and Upper 6s. The App also provides Covid19 materials for teachers and learners through age-appropriate information about the virus and other infectious diseases.