Quality Improvement and Time to Lift the Ban on Mobile Phones in Secondary Schools

Zvavahera Promise, Chigora Farai

Abstract


This study was conducted over three months from March to May 2018, at a time when modern mobile phones possess various functions that are invaluable for learning, teaching and communication purposes. Whilst some countries with a quest to improve quality of education, have embraced the continuously evolving technological capacities of mobile phones for educational purposes, secondary school pupils in Zimbabwe are prohibited from using mobile phones in class as these are viewed to be disruptive rather than useful. This study investigated stakeholders’ perceptions of potential utilisation of cell phones by secondary school students as learning tools that enhance quality of education. The sample included 15 secondary schools in Mazowe District. From these, the District Education Officials, headmasters, teachers, pupils and parents were given questionnaires to complete. Validation interviews were conducted for triangulation purposes. The findings revealed strong positive responses in favour of allowing the utilisation of mobile phones as learning tools in Zimbabwean secondary schools although some challenges in the implementation process were cited. These included possibilities of: student distraction in class; cheating; inappropriate video recording of class events and the publication of captured material on social platforms which could be harmful to other learners and the school. The issue of cost of data also came up. The study recommended the removal of the blanket ban on the use of mobile phones; instead, school authorities were encouraged to focus on developing strategies for addressing the implementation challenges cited. It is also critical to make sure that accessible cheap data be made available to learners in secondary schools. Schools in Zimbabwe should form networks so that cheap data is made available by sharing the networks. Schools in Zimbabwe, like institutions of higher learning, are encouraged to embrace the National Research and Education Network (NREN) concept which specialises in internet service provision dedicated to supporting the needs of education in Zimbabwe.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijld.v8i3.13625

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