Monday, 9 September 2013

Students free to use phones at school - government

Kampala- Government has directed secondary school head teachers to relax rules and allow students possess cellular phones.
According to Dr Yusuf Nsubuga, the director Basic and Secondary Education, there is no government policy that bars students from owning cellular phones at school, especially now that the gadgets are a necessity of everyday life.
The director, however, warned that the phones should not be used during class time.
“Teachers must appreciate that the world has changed and some rigid school rules of the 1980s and 90s are no longer applicable in this dot com era,” he said, while addressing head teachers from schools implementing the MasterCard Foundation Scholars scheme in Kampala.
He added: “If parents can buy phones for their maids at home, why can’t they do it for their children? A mobile phone is an education instructional resource, not a luxury. Students learn a lot when they use them.”
Dr Nsubuga said the argument by most schools that students are barred from using phones in order to avert strikes does not hold water.
“They (teachers) have failed to manage change. The strikes were there even before mobile phones came,” he said.
Students owning mobile phones has been a sticky issue and some secondary schools have in the past suffered violent strikes with students protesting the confiscation of their gadgets.
“What you need to do is to regulate the use but not a total ban. Give the students some breathing space so they can express and realise their full human potential,” said Dr Nsubuga.
But Mr Micheal Mpiima, the head teacher Ssaku SS in Luweero District, said allowing students to own mobile phones would make them more unruly.
Kyadondo East MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, whose son was expelled last year for being in possession of a cellular phone, welcomed the directive yesterday, saying teachers need to know that schools are not prisons.
“Schools are just a stage in the preparation of the country’s human resource. It is good the government has come out and we pray that school heads adhere to it. We are not saying students should use the phones all through. There should be regulated time for this to enable them communicate to their parents and friends.”
Mr Fredrick Ssempala, an education expert, said: “It is true a mobile phone can serve as an instructional tool but like any other technology, it goes with discipline. So, before the ministry tells the schools to change their rules on use of cellular phones, let there be sensitisation to students on how to use them because without this, they will instead become destructive.”

Accessed on Monday 9th September, 2013 from:;postID=8431284533577371486