Having invested a state-of-the-art Smart information & communication technology (ICT) lab at Ngumbe Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Blantyre on the commemoration of 10th Anniversary of Ecobank Day, the bank emphasises that their “commitment to education and digital empowerment is not just a one-day event — it is a continuous journey”.
This was pledged by Ecobank Malawi’s Executive Director, Weluzani Chingota, saying they are “dedicated to fostering a prosperous and digitally empowered future, and we will persistently work towards this goal.”
The school’s e-lab has been equipped with 40 desks; a desktop computer; a Smart TV; internet connectivity and 20 tablets loaded with the Ministry of Education’s MiLab virtual science laboratory App and zero-rated e-learning platforms.
Ecobank partnered with the Ministry of Education to support government’s nationwide ‘Connect-a-School Program’ and present at the glamorous event was the Ministry of Education’s Director of Education Planning, Victoria Geresomo, who was guest of honour and was accompanied by a high ranking entourage from the Ministry.
Chingota said: “I am truly honoured to stand before you today on this exceptional 10th Anniversary of Ecobank Day — an occasion that embodies our unyielding commitment to education, digital empowerment, and community development.
“The theme we celebrate today; ‘Transforming Africa Through Education-Excel with Digital Skills’, is a testament to the pivotal role that education and digital empowerment play in the progress of our beloved country and continent at large.
“Education is the cornerstone of progress, and digital skills are the bridge to a brighter future. As a responsible financial institution, Ecobank believes in giving back to the communities we serve, and education is one of the most powerful ways to make a lasting impact.”
The refurbished and furnished Smart ICT Lab cost Ecobank K25 million, and Chingota added that it has been equipped with innovative technology — “designed to inspire and empower the next generation of leaders”.
“Our aim is to bridge the digital divide and provide students with the resources they need to excel in an increasingly digital world. We believe that this donation will go a long way in complementing the Malawi Government through the Ministry of Education’s ‘Connect-a-School’ project that aims to establish Smart ICT labs across the country like the one we are donating today.”
Thus he made the pledge that this was not Ecobank’s one-off investment, saying: “It is not enough to provide technology; we must ensure that our young learners know how to harness its potential.
“This is why, on this Ecobank Day, we conducted a digital literacy session here at Ngumbe CDSS in order to impart essential digital skills and equip students with the tools to thrive and lead in an ever-evolving landscape.
Our commitment to education and digital empowerment is not just a one-day event; it is a continuous journey. Ecobank is dedicated to fostering a prosperous and digitally empowered future, and we will persistently work towards this goal.
He paid special tribute and deep gratitude to partners, Ministry of Education; popular music artist Driemo as the Ecobank Day Ambassador, his fellow staff members, Ngumbe CDSS and the entire community for their support.
“It is through collaboration and shared purpose that we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of these young minds,” he emphasised. As we celebrate Ecobank Day, let us remember that every child we empower today is a beacon of hope for a brighter, more digitally inclusive tomorrow.
“Thank you for joining us in this noble mission — together, we can transform lives, communities and our shared future through education and digital skills. Let’s join hands to transform Africa through education and excel with digital skills.”
On her part, the Director of Education Planning, Victoria Geresomo — who represented Secretary for Education, Chikondano Mussa as she had another important official engagement — honoured the partnership with the Ministry saying the bank has not only pledged but demonstrated their commitment to supporting their efforts in transforming education in Malawi through digitalisation and digital skills development.
“Today is a most exciting day for the teachers and students of Ngumbe CDSS as they have been enabled to benefit from the Ministry’s Connect-a-School Program through our timely partnership with and donation from Ecobank Malawi.
“We understand this is a kick-off to a digital transformation partnership with Ecobank for the next 3 years and we, therefore, look forward to a huge impact in our schools and communities.
“The important role of education in spurring the socio-economic growth of any country is inarguable. In fact, it is well articulated in our country’s national development agenda, the MW2063. It is the orchestra of all the other sectors.
“The MW2063 recognises human capital development as a key enabler of our collective vision to create an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation that is propelled by a knowledge-based, innovation-centred and technology-driven economy.
“In this regard, the Ministry of Education bears the bold task of establishing a vibrant and competitive national education system that promotes development and the provision of need-based curricula. This includes ensuring necessary application of science, technology and innovation (STI) techniques to stimulate our country’s socio-economic development and industrial growth.”
The visibly inspired Geresomo pledged that the Ministry “is determined to enhance equitable access to relevant education programs at all levels of the education system, and to enhance the quality of educational outcomes in all schools”.
“Our commitment to building lasting collaborative relationships with private sector partners, such as Ecobank Malawi, with whom we will provide quality and relevant education to the Malawi nation is similarly unwavering.
“We believe that this will transform the education landscape in our country and appeal to the appetite of our youth.”
She thus highlighted that in line with the Ministry’s National Education Sector Investment Plan (2020-2030) and the First 10-Year Implementation Plan of the MW2063 (MIP-1, 2021-2030), they aim to:
1. Facilitate and promote the digitalisation of educational content;
2. Ensure the connectivity of all secondary schools to the internet and establishment of ICT/Smart Labs in all Secondary Schools;
3. Enable access to and availability of technological facilities, such as tablets and other gadgets, by teachers and learners;
4. Encourage the utilisation of innovative training methodologies and tools; and
5. Ensure access to sustainable energy sources that support and enhance teaching and learning experiences in our schools.
“All these areas of transformational redress are aptly covered by the Connect-a-School Program of which Ecobank Malawi is now a part through their contributions to Ngumbe CDSS as a kick-off and show-off of what Ecobank is made of, and what we should expect in the next 3 years.
“It, therefore, gives us great pleasure, and indeed encourages us, to know that we have the support of Ecobank Malawi in the delivery of this noble task as we firmly believe that with such partnerships on the implementation of our national education strategy, we will fulfil our commitment to our people everywhere in Malawi.
She thus encouraged all other private sector enterprises to follow suit and adopt a school or more where they can establish and equip a Smart ICT Labs as Ecobank Malawi and others have done.
“This generous donation by Ecobank Malawi to Ngumbe CDSS is testament to our shared belief that every student deserves access to quality education and necessary educational resources to develop new skills.
“Ecobank Malawi has today given you, our students, an opportunity to actively participate in our country’s development process through exposure to new technologies by which you will gain and generate knowledge to sustain our country’s future and your own.
“Our teachers, you too deserve the support and resources to deliver engaging and effective lessons that inspire and motivate your students while similarly developing new skills for yourselves. This donation plays a critical role in enabling you to do so.”
She also encouraged parents and guardians that the world is rapidly changing and it is an indisputable fact that the future is digital — thus “children must be adequately prepared for the future world of work in which they will be global leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and industry champions in their selected fields”.
She urge parents and guardians to support their children in their quest for greatness by allowing them enough time to focus on their education, advising them in their studies and encouraging them to develop their digital skills through responsible use of different technologies.
She also encouraged the parents and guardians who can afford to buy tablets and/or other smart phones for their children while also advising that the Smart ICT Lab should not be just a room with gadgets, but rather a space where students will explore, collaborate and enhance their learning experience using the latest technology.
“Let it be a space for teachers to design, deliver and assess learning activities that are aligned to the curriculum and needs of learners. We require that the school management furnish us with annual reports of the performance of the candidates in physics and chemistry at MSCE level.
She gave an example of Chiwamba CDSS where its head teacher Jaziel Kapinga and staff has reported improved learner interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and improved performance at MSCE in physics and chemistry.
She urged the Ngumbe CDSS teachers, led by its principal, Feggie Mwale and the students to responsibly manage and utilise the investment given, saying that might inspire and motivate Ecobank Malawi and other partners to continue supporting and transforming education with the Ministry with more schools to enjoy the benefits of similar technological boost.
She thus expressed her Ministry’s deep appreciation for the investment, which a shared vision of enhancing education through technology, emphasizing that this was “the power of collaboration through public-private partnerships (PPP) in education.”
On her part, Ngumbe CDSS Principal, Feggie Mwale assured Ecobank and the Ministry that they would take care of the investment, saying since they initiated the e-lab some five years ago, they have never lost any of the investment they injected.
She was full of gratitude and appreciation that they too would become technologically savvy as most of them are still in analog mode — attracting a huge round of laughter from the distinguished guests and her students.