Welcome remarks read by the ZANEC Board Chairperson for Skills and Tertiary Subsector Committee, Mrs. Christine Nabeba Mwasiti Menda during the Annual Students and Management Dialogue Forum on Distance and eLearning for Students with Disabilities during COVID 19 held on 22nd September, 2021

Welcome remarks read by the ZANEC Board Chairperson for Skills and Tertiary Subsector Committee, Mrs. Christine Nabeba Mwasiti Menda during the Annual Students and Management Dialogue Forum on Distance and eLearning for Students with Disabilities during COVID 19 held on 22nd September, 2021

Ministry of Education Representative

Technical Education, Vocational, and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) Representative

Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) Representative

Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Representative

Management and Lecturers from various Universities and Colleges Present

Student Union Leaders and Students from various Universities and Colleges Present

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Present

ZANEC Board and Staff Present

Members of the Press

May I simply say all Protocols observed

It is my honour and privilege to welcome you all our distinguished guests to this Students and Management Dialogue Forum.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The objective of this meeting is to discuss how best learning can be done through online and distance learning for students with disabilities.

Furthermore, the expected outcomes are that:

  • Management, lecturers and students discuss online, remote and distance learning for students with disabilities or special education needs.
  • At least 3 best practices are shared on how universities are providing distance and online learning for learners with disabilities.

It is important to note that ZANEC had two meetings in which a presentation was made on ways that can foster effective and efficient use of distance learning amidst the COVID 19 pandemic in Higher Learning Institutions.  This was general and was not specific to students with disabilities. However, it was noted that online learning has come with a number of challenges such as the high cost of internet bundles, lack of equipment like smart phones and lap computers, bad network and lack of power supplies.

Ladies and Gentlemen

For Zambia to attain the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4. There is need to have distance and online learning that is accessible by all students regardless of their abilities.  It is vital that higher learning institutions invest in eLearning or distance learning platforms as lessons from the COVID 19 have clearly shown that Zambia is not adequately prepared to offer distance and online learning to all. Mostly, access to remote learning is limited to students from well to do families and those along the line of rail.

Ladies and Gentlemen

ZANEC is delighted that we have key stakeholders present in this meeting such as the Ministry of Education’s Department of University Education, TEVETA, ZICTA and IBA as well as management, lecturers and students. It is through open and honest dialogue that we can find a lasting solution to the provision of quality education for everyone whether through physically classes or through remote learning. We should all be aware that education cannot wait. With or without a pandemic, education has to continue.

This is because education is the best equalizer that gives opportunities for employment and production of skilled human capital that can develop this country.  I am therefore, encouraging all of us here present to participate in the deliberations of this meeting. Further, it is important that we share what we will learn in this forum in our various institutions where we are coming from.

Ladies and Gentlemen

ZANEC is grateful to Norwegian Students’ and Academic International Assistance Fund (SAIH) for the financial support that has made it possible to hold this third annual management and student dialogue meeting. We are also thankful for the support SAIH has continued to give the organization on issues relating to higher education and advocacy for academic freedoms in general.

With these few remarks I wish you a fruitful dialogue.

Thank you and God bless you all.

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