'Headmasters stifling ICTs in schools'

By Staff reporter | 26 Jun 2019 at 19:49hrs
SCHOOL headmasters have been blamed for frustrating efforts towards information communication technology (ICT)-based learning in the country by blocking learners from using cell phones in schools.

Stakeholders attending the National Association of Secondary Heads (Nash) conference held in Victoria Falls last week bemoaned the fact that some school authorities do not realise that allowing learners access to cell phones was in line with the country's new education curriculum which urges a blended education system premised on research and technology.

Morgan Zintec College principal Tonderai Zendah noted that some school heads even boast about such restrictive practices at their institutions in the name of being seen as strict disciplinarians.

"We have a situation whereby pupils are searched when they board buses to go to school because we want to make sure they don't carry smartphones. We, as headmasters, brag to our colleagues about how strict we are on this issue not knowing that we are being enemies of progress," Zendah told the conference that was also attended by officials from the ministry of Education.

He urged school authorities not to stifle technology saying: "I prefer we move a gear up and allow cell phones in school but probably those with specific software."

There have been calls for the country's education system to embrace computer-aided designs to effectively implement the recently introduced new education curriculum.

In 2015, then Education minister Lazarus Dokora said he saw nothing wrong with schoolchildren using mobile phones in school since the devices were necessary "in this era of technological advancement".

"I do not see any problem with allowing pupils to bring and use their cell phones at schools because we are in a time of technological advancement," Dokora told the Daily News then.

"We want them to have those things, be it cell phones, laptops or other mobile devices since we are living in a world where technology is changing every day.

"It would actually be an advantage to the pupils as they are able to view the world differently through new technologies."

On the other hand, educationists who are against the use of mobile phones in schools say cell phones promote limited learning, behavioural problems; raise the potential for cheating and the risk of theft.

Their use, they also argue, creates worries about cheating, visiting inappropriate websites, sexting or overuse and the posting of fights or other incidents on social media.

Other critics see cell phones as a major distraction to pupils during lessons.



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