By CHUSA SICHONE –
THE Ministry of Education says the current Education Policy does not have a provision which regulates pupils from using mobile phones in schools.
It is in view of the foregoing that the Ministry of Education is considering including the mobile phone regulatory measure as it revises the Education Policy.
Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Chishimba Nkosha said in an interview that the current Education Policy was written before the advent of mobile phones hence it being devoid of the mobile phone regulatory provision.
Mr Nkosha, however, said even with the absence of the regulatory provision in the existing Education Policy, the Ministry of Education had given schools guidelines stating that the use of mobile phones in schools should not tamper with the learning of the pupils.
“As you may be aware, the use of cell phones is a new development which began after the Education Policy had been written and at that time there was no attention paid to such issues as the use of cell phones in schools.
“So at the moment, there is no policy in our policy documents regulating the use of cell phones in schools, but the Ministry has given guidelines that the use of the cell phones should not interfere with the learning of the pupils,” he said.
Mr Nkosha said based on the ministry’s guidelines, some individual school boards and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) had come up with regulations in their schools.
He said the regulations included completely banning pupils, especially from Government schools and some Grant-aided learning institutions, from going to school with mobile phones.
Mr Nkosha said some other ‘flexible’ schools had realised that such technology had come to stay and had allowed pupils to use mobile phones outside classrooms only as carrying mobile phones in classrooms would disturb them during lessons.
“I think as we revise the policy on education, this is one thing we should pay attention to and come up with something more specific on what schools should be doing,” Mr Nkosha said.