Ghanaians said mobile phones are a great distraction to students and will inhibit their studies.

There have been several unreported protests and misunderstandings in schools regarding the use of mobile phones by condemning the reaction of students, especially when they resort to violence and destruction of school properties.

Some time ago, SHS students at Nkwanta in the Oti region did the same when their phones were taken and destroyed.

In 2017, teachers at the Karaga SHS in the Northern region fled into bushes after they allegedly seized phones belonging to students and set it ablaze.

The teachers asked the students from bringing such devices to the school but the students argue that the school is not a boarding facility and so they use their phones to communicate with their parents and guardians.

During an inspection in the school, about 200 mobile phones, earphones, chargers, and laptops were confiscated and burnt to ashes.

The cause of these reprehensible acts is that students in senior high schools are banned from using mobile phones on campus.

SHS students to use mobile phone
SHS students to use mobile phone

The use of mobile phones can have adverse effects on students' learning, especially when they abuse them.

READ MORE: Violent clashes reported at Karaga SHS as teachers set students' phones ablaze

Heads of second cycle schools in the country are against the proposal for the use of mobile phones by students.

According to them, mobile phones are a great source of distraction for children.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) policy does not permit students in second-cycle schools to use a mobile phone.

In 2017, the National Secretary of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), Samuel Gyebi Yeboah, said the use of mobile phones will be a problem.

Some of the problems, he said, was the illegal connections of electricity done by students to charge their phones, particularly in the dormitories.

But the issue of whether mobile phones should be used in basic and second-cycle schools in the country still stirs controversy.

The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the Ministry is in talks with the Education Ministry to lift the ban on the use of mobile phones in such schools.

"We are currently having discussions with the Ministry of education on the opportunities being given to students to use mobile devices but not just to use them for fun in school but to have curricula loaded unto the devices so that they use as learning aids and not fun tools," she said.

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

He stated that there was an urgent need for holistic structures to be put in place by policymakers in education to allow mobile phones to be efficiently used by students.

However, following the punishment meted out to seven female students of Ejisuman SHS in the Ashanti Region who were seen in a viral video on social media making comments which bordered on sex, some civil society organisations said the authorities of the school shouldn't expel the students from the school's boarding house.

The students, who were in their final year, were behind a video that had gone viral in which they were seen advising their fellow girls to give in to the sexual demands of men.

The Executive Director of Child Rights International, Bright Appiah, said the right approach to dealing with the students' actions is not to expel them from the boarding house but rather, provide them with the needed medical attention.

READ ALSO: Gov't to lift ban on use of mobile phones in senior high schools

He said "They have really deviated from what is required of the students in this particular matter. We expect that the authorities will take steps that will ensure the maintenance and rehabilitation of the students in matters of this nature. But that did not feature in the direction that they have taken when it comes to students showing a certain behaviour in relation to social disorder. Punishment is not a remedy for it but rather a treatment so we expect that the school authorities will take steps to make available a clinical psychiatrist for the students to work on their mindset."

The seven — Ruth Owusu, Samira Ibrahim, Adufa Appiah Vera, Patience Twumwaa, Osei Bonsu Juanita, Adarkwa Victoria, and Jeannine Agyapong are all final year students.

Way forward

The Information and communications technology (ICT) curriculum can include the productive use of mobile phones for enhanced teaching and learning but it must address the issue of addiction to mobile devices.

Most schools have no or inadequate computers, and students have phones.

There are tonnes of educational apps and brain games that have enormous benefits for students.

Therefore, Kojo Emmanuel asks: should the government give SHS students the green light to use mobile phones in schools?