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General News of Wednesday, 5 September 2018


Lift ban on use of mobile phones by students; GUNSA urges govt.

The Ghana United Nations Students and Youth Association (GUNSA) is demanding an immediate lifting of the ban on the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices by students in senior high schools across the country.

The association has thus described the continuous existence of the ban as counterproductive and an affront to the quest for academic excellence by the education set-up in particular and the nation at large.

The call comes few days to the commencement of the 2018/2019 Academic year which will also witness the implementation of a major phase of government’s intervention to ensure increased access to secondary education through the Free Senior High School (FSHS)Policy.

Under the new phase of the programme, a Double-Track System is to be introduced to enable close to 180,000 graduates of Junior High Schools to attain Senior High School education.

In a statement issued in Accra and signed by the General Secretary of GUNSA, Mr Emmanuel J.K Arthur, the association holds the view that ongoing reforms in the education sector, particularly at the second cycle level requires that steps are taken to ensure teaching and learning is made technology friendly and in a way that will bridge the ICT gap.

According to the student organisation, the proactiveness of relevant state agencies such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Communications, the Science and Technology Ministry, the National Information Technology Agency and the National Communications Authority will downplay the distraction argument that was used as an excuse to place the ban.

“If these institutions of state, liaises with the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, various appropriate regulatory mechanisms can be arrived at to make the mobile phone a useful tool for learning and research, instead of the so-called ban that has turn out to be backward and counterproductive”, the statement said.

The statement said research findings from many countries have shown that electronic devices, when properly regulated are powerful tools Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) and is, therefore, challenging government to rethink the ban.

The ban on the use of mobile phones by students in high schools has been in place for some years now after the sector ministry reacted to several complaints of the object being obstructive, even though there is evidence of non-compliance by some students who sneak them into their dormitories.

In August 2017, Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Adutwum announced government was considering lifting the ban to increase the knowledge base of students in ICT education, but one year on, there seemed no sign of that promise being honoured.

But Mr Arthur told, there are more positives to the use of the device than the negatives we have been looking at over the years, hence the urgent need to lift the ban.

On the commencement of the new academic year and the take-off of the Double-Track System in the next nine days, the GUNSA Scribe was hopeful government has taken the necessary measures in place to ensure a smooth academic calendar for both new and continuing students.