A small innocent looking young girl squeezes herself through into her classroom. She carries on her back a small backpack used for carrying her books. She moves to the back of the classroom and takes her usual position.
Moments later a Rick Ross sound screams through the class bringing everyone in the class to attention. The students nervously look at the back for a moment and await the Teacher’s reaction.
The Teacher moves to the back and asked whose cell-phone just rang in class. The young girl takes out a Samsung Galaxy handset from her backpack and apologetically hands it over to the Teacher.
This is not the first time the student has smuggled a phone into school and she would probably do that again. To her, confiscation of her valuable possession by teachers is always met by the determined attachment to these valuable gadgets. As a result of this, a cold war has ensued between Schools and Students.
Cellphones have become a menace in schools. To schools, cell phones are a distraction. To teachers, cell phones disintegrate the teaching environment. To students the world is dynamic and cell phones are as fashionable as colour-blogging and cannot be ignored. But are cellphones really catastrophic to the learning environment?
Teachers have adopted zero tolerance towards possession of cellphones by students in schools.
Students who are found in possession of cellphones are reprimanded and the cellphone confiscated. Students are accused of texting their friends short messages during lessons.
“Students ignore the benefits that come with a cellphone and as a result they do not reap academically from them, instead they distract them,” said a Teacher who did not want to be named.
Some students are reported to visit social networks during learning time, where they share obscene messages with others. Some students are accused of using the “wall” on facebook for graffiti.
We came across Facebook accounts that are reported to be created by students.
Students talk about the banishment of cellphones in schools as anything but ridiculous.
“The cellphone becomes a problem when the teacher sees it, or someone tips them off; it’s like if…” said a student.
Naledi, a secondary school student says cellphones are banished mainly because Teachers and Parents fail to regulate their use. Naledi argues that this is the digital era and most schools are wi-fi hot spots. “The cellphones could help us research and explore,” she said.
Students acknowledge, however, that cellphones create problems between them that are not academically related. There are reported cases where students have used cellphones to coerce others to disrupt and vandalise school property. Mmegi/Monitor carried a story on October 2012, where facebookers claiming to be students alleged that they were responsible for the burning of classroom at Maun Senior Secondary School.
Students have found themselves vulnerable to Satanists and individuals who masquerade as prophets.
Students who have cellphones and are able to access social media pages have fallen victim to horrendous acts of Satanism. Social media is used as bait for the vulnerable students.
Cellphones, though, may create an opportunity to improve learning but are catastrophic in the hands of young minds if not properly monitored.