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We will stick to ban on mobile phones in SHS-CHASSS

Mrs Cecilia Kwakye Cofie, National President of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS)

Heads of second cycle schools in the country have vehemently opposed the use of mobile phones by students in senior high schools (SHSs) in the country.

They said allowing the use of mobile phones in SHSs would have dire consequences on students as a result of their distraction and abuse.

They emphasised that they would, therefore, enforce the directive of the Ghana Education Service (GES) on the ban on the use of phones in schools.

“As for the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), we still stand by it that students should not be allowed to use mobile phones and we will enforce the GES regulation against the use of mobile phones by students,” the National Secretary of CHASS, Mr Samuel Gyebi Yeboah, told the Daily Graphic on Friday.

According to him, there were a lot of problems SHSs faced because of the use of mobile phones, adding that one of such problems was the illegal connections of electricity done by students to charge their phones, especially in the dormitories.

Illegal connections

Those illegal connections, he said, were one of the causes of fire outbreaks in some schools in the country.

According to him, in some schools, students had damaged most of the electrical connections as a result of their clandestine use of phones.

Mr Yeboah said at the Asesewa SHS, for instance, he discovered that some students converted a slipper into an extension board and illegally connected it to a power source to charge their phones.

“The students have destroyed all the lights in the dormitories and destroyed fan regulators to connect their phones. I even submitted a ‘slipper’ extension board  that the students had made to the director-general of the GES and the GES Council,’ he said.

In addition, he indicated, such use of power was also responsible for the high electricity bills of SHSs.

Debate on phone use

The issue of whether mobile phones should be used in basic and second-cycle schools in the country stirred controversy at the fifth quadrennial regional delegates conference of the Greater Accra branch of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) in Accra last Tuesday.

Speakers at the conference were unanimous that there was the need for teachers to adopt innovative strategies to enhance teaching and learning but held dissenting views on the use of smartphones to enhance the process.

Delivering the keynote address, an educationist and Founder of Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), Mr Anis Haffar, advocated the use of mobile phones by students, stressing that it was a backward tendency for students to be prevented from using smartphones in a world that was dominated by technology.

Academic performance

Mr Yeboah emphasised that the use of phones would adversely affect the performance of students because rather than studying, they would spend sleepless nights on the phones surfing the Internet and chatting with friends on social media platforms.

“They do not learn at night but spend time on the phone. In the morning when they go to class, you see them sleeping. This does not encourage the teacher to teach,” he said.

The National CHASS secretary further explained that because of the use of mobile phones, some students reported to examination centres sometimes 30 minutes late, waiting for some ‘apo’ on their phones before entering the examination hall.

Advanced countries

Mr Yeboah noted that in advanced countries, students were not allowed to use mobile phones.

In the United States (US), for instance, he said, there were tablets and other gadgets in the libraries which were available for students to access various books electronically for their research, among other facilities.

“If Ghana has grown to that level and wants to do same, it should be done in our libraries where the students will be monitored and controlled. The government should supply these items in the libraries.

“We the heads of schools are in the system and we know the problems we are facing,” he stated

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