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Zim School of Mines (ZSM) introduces online courses

 By Business Reporter – Thursday 23 April 2020

HARARE (Mining Index) – ZIMBABWE School of Mines (ZSM) has introduced online mining courses to fulfil one of its strategic objectives of providing e-Learning solutions to the mining industry and support services in Zimbabwe and beyond.

The move to offer e-Learning has been on the schools cards for a while with the Certificate in Principles of Mining being the first online course to be offered starting May 2020, before other courses are rolled out.

“The Principles of Mining course will target mining sector staff and those servicing the mining sector including financial institutions, law firms and other contractors. The course has already attracted participants from Botswana and Nigeria,”

“We will be launching other modules soon, with the next one in line being a Certificate in Mine Accident and Investigation Techniques,” said ZSM chief executive officer Edwin Gwaze.

ZSM plans to run at least one online course per month which could be scaled up when demand necessitates.

“We will also offer customized training programs on request to individual mines especially in the field of mining safety,” he added.

Gwaze said ZSM will be utilizing the Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (Moodle) learning management system for its e-learning services.

“Each module covered in our online courses will utilise a range of learning resources for learners to access including video content, assessment questions, interactive activities and scenario decision points,” he said.

He added that miners will be able to access and complete the Certificate in Principles of Mining and other online courses through the Moodle platform using a laptop or mobile device and access to internet as most miners, whether in small-scale or large-scale mines are already using these devices.

The Certificate in Principles of Mining has been designed to showcase Zimbabwe’s and Africa’s mining potential with focus being on the mining value chain and promoting awareness and understanding of the complexities and fragility of the minerals resource business sectors.

“Developed in collaboration with leading industry and education experts, this course uses interactive challenge-based techniques to provide an introduction to the lifecycle of mining, from exploration, through to mine planning, operation and closure,” he said.

Modules to be covered include Mine Value Chain and Planning; Mineral Exploration, Mining Methods, Sustainable Mining Practice and Economic Valuation of Mineral Projects.

Gwaze is confident that at the end of the Principles of Mining course, miners will be able to discover how new mineral deposits are found and examine the economic factors that govern their development; plan the complete life cycle of a mine, from initial infrastructure requirements through to operation closure and rehabilitation; experience the ‘living plan’ of a mine and see how extraction and processing of minerals is constantly adjusted to suit market conditions and investigate how economics and market forces influence the decision to close a mine.

While the mining industry in Zimbabwe contributes significantly to the national economy, training is an integral component in these environments and e-Learning is gaining traction to train the large workforce.

He said the trend in uptake of online learning globally has been an added incentive into establishing virtual classes, with global e-learning market projected to reach US$325 billion by 2025.

“This in combination with the global downturn in commodity prices, resulting in staff reduction and costs, has presented an urgent need to streamline training protocols. E‑learning will prove to be the most productive and cost-effective solution for this pressured mining environment,” said Gwaze. ENDS//

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