Business News of 2014-01-08

‘Review ban on use of mobile phones’

A Deputy Director at the Teacher Education Division of the Ghana Education Service, Rev Emmanuel K. Dadebo, has called for a review of the ban on the use of mobile phones by students in second cycle schools.
He said that since technology was an integral part of the curriculum, steps should rather be taken to ensure that the challenges confronting students’ use of the device were addressed for them to derive the huge benefits.
“Whether we like it or not, we are in a digital age and there are great opportunities that abound to students using mobile phones in this 21st century,” Rev Dadebo stated.
Speaking on the second day of the 65th annual New Year School and Conference at the University of Ghana, Legon, Rev Dadebo said, because secondary schools do not have adequate computers connected to the Internet, students should rather be guided to use their phones to support their studies.
The four-day event is being held on the theme: “Information and communication technology-driven education for sustainable human development: Challenges and prospects”.
He said the absence of internet connectivity in many second cycle schools had been a major setback to both ICT tutors and their students completing the curriculum on time, a frustration that undermined the academic performance of the students.
“I believe that allowing and guiding our students to put their personal mobile phone to proper use could empower them to do personal research and cover the curriculum,” he stressed.
He cited Nigeria as one African country where the failure of authorities to guide students led to cyber crimes.
“When the Nigerian government introduced ICT in secondary schools, it failed to provide the students the needed guidance and that pushed many students to go to Internet cafes where some of them learned to engage in cyber fraud,” Rev Dadebo said.
Ban, not to create problems
Rev Dadebo pointed out that the ban was not to create learning problems for the students but to guard them from going beyond certain bounds, such as using them to watch pornography and chatting with friends late into the night.
He said teachers had complained that some students either slept in class or were unable to concentrate, because they had engaged in free night calls, conceding also that mobile phones created unhealthy competition among students.
Nonetheless, Rev Dadebo indicated the need for a review of the ban, ‘since we are in a digital age”, he said.
For his part, the Director of the Centre for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling, Mr Joshua C. Mallet, said there was the need for stakeholders to explore the possibility of using ICT to increase access to education.
“If we deploy ICT properly, we can also have open ICT colleges to allow for more access to ICT education for our teachers and students alike,” he added