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Advance in ICT has presented the 21st educators with enormous tools to enable them educate and learn with ease.. Talk of the Internet for web browsing, E-mail, chatting; Networks, both wired and wireless for enabling device connectivity, to modern gadgets like Smart phones, Laptops, Ipads, etc.

All these technologies have now got a place in Ugandan secondary schools. Whereas not many learners have laptops and ipads, due to their cost, almost every secondary school learner has a cell phone. But do they mainly use these cell phones for while in school? a) Listening to music/radio (commonly for those that can hold memory cards), b) texting peers in and out of school, c) watching TV ( for those with some Chinese cheap phones they can afford), etc. The usage of these ICTs in schools by learners has opened doors to several indiscipline challenges for school administrators (learner disrespect to authorities, reduced lesson attendance, inattention in class, cases of theft, Cases of student discontinuation, mention it). Yet the concerned authorities (Ministry of Education and Sports) has not yet come up with a clear policy (Allow or not allow phones/laptops in schools) to guide educators.

But the one million dollar pedagogical question is. Does allowing students with phones and lap tops in our secondary school enhance learning in anyway? The answer is a yes and no, depending on the type of school you are taking about and its location in any region of Uganda. If you are talking of Kampala area, probably yes because some International schools have endeavoured to come up with E-learning policies to guide their integration of ICTs in learning.

The expectations are that theses gadgets would allow learners to: a) Share new content across schools, download learning materials from websites, collaborate with peers and teachers, do assignments and post them to leaning management systems, etc. But the state of computing facilities in these schools cant favour theses learning tasks.

As a stakeholder in the education system, what is your say?

By Kishable Bashir

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