BY MTHANDAZO NYONI(newsday.co.zw)
Zimbabwe appears to be on the sidelines and indeed at the “back of the line” when it comes to technological advances. But two young men from National University of Science and Technology (Nust) have recently challenged that dogma.
The duo, Richard Macklin Kunhuwa and Godknows Mdhari developed an affordable school management system that seeks to digitalise local schools.
“Well, I think I got a bit frustrated that almost all the software we use in this country are not locally made yet we have the best education on the continent,” Kunhuwa a final year Engineering student at Nust, said
“If we could find a way to actually use our skills to address local problems, we will really become a powerhouse in Africa. We realised that a lot of our local schools do not have a proper digitalised record keeping system, so I teamed up with a friend who was studying Records Management to build this system.”
He said the software system was fast, powerful and very affordable.
“We also understand the challenges we face in this country of poor internet connections etc. that’s why we build this system to not require internet connections,” Kunhuwa said.
“We also have built a team of dedicated technicians who are available 24/7 if any problems arise. I think that’s also our advantage over foreign online systems.”
Mdhari, who is also the Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union chairperson, said the goal was to build a better Zimbabwe through creative thinking and innovation.
“It goes without saying that this is how we can solve the biggest problem in this country of unemployment,” he said.
“When Richard approached me with the idea last year during my attachment period at the Nust Information and Communication Technology Services department, I saw it as a noble idea as the system gathers and processes records such as student records, staff records, payment and receipts records allowing administration to make quick and informed decisions in real timer and with required support, the system is targeted to go regional in assisting convenient information management,” he said.
However, the two are finding it hard to compete against products from well-established companies.
“We have to compete with products from Microsoft which is a multibillion company. However, if we could get support from locally I think we will make it. We implore the government to support us a little bit. Our growth is their growth and we are going to raise the country’s flag higher,” Kunhuwa said.