'ICT threatens role of lecturer'

HARARE - Although Information and Communication Development (ICT) is a positive development in the African learning curriculum, it is going to lead to the extinction of the role played by the lecturer.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe Open University (Zou) International Research Conference yesterday, Tolly Mbwette, the vice chancellor at the Open University of Tanzania said the African lecturer faced the threat of being phased out of the learning cycle.

“The introduction of ICT at our tertiary institutions will force the lecturer out of the curriculum in the long run as he can be easily replaced by better learning facilities,” Mbwette said.

He said what will be needed instead of the ordinary lecturer; academic facilitators will replace the fulltime lecturer.

“The role of the academic lecturer is to assuage the load of the academic burden. This role is to provide the basic guidelines to the students and the rest they can figure out through the use of ICT agents,”the vice chancellor said.

He encouraged educators to create an atmosphere for student-centred learning to prepare students for this coming phase.

Speaking at the same function Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge said his ministry before awarding accreditation to an institution — looks at its technological ability in line with the National ICT policy.

He said it is the Technological Achievement Index (Tai) that reflects a country’s technological progress and capacity to participate in the global technology development networks.

“The Tai focuses on four dimensions, namely; creation of technology, diffusion of recent innovations, diffusion of old innovations, and human skills.

On the basis of this index, a table of great disparities show 4 groups.

Virtually all African countries are in the last group, the marginalised group,” Mudenge said.

He expressed optimism at the rate at which, despite marginalisation Zimbabwe has advanced technologically.

The conference meant to stimulate research discussions from over 52 African presenters is the second research conference to be run by Zou.

Zou vice chancellor, Primrose Kurasha said the conference will present focus areas and gaps in African research on Knowledge Frontiers for Sustainable Growth and Development from a cross-disciplinary viewpoint and to make recommendations on the sub areas that should be prioritised.

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge

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