COVID-19: Permit use of phones at SHS- Lecturer

A Lecturer at the School of Medicine, University for Development Studies (UDS), Dr Gideon Helegbe, says the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic should be a clarion call for the Ghana Education Service (GES) to permit Senior High School (SHS) students to use phones and laptops in school.

Dr Helegbe said allowing the SHS students to use the ICT equipment in school would make things easier for teachers and students to enable them to undertake academic activities at school and even home.

He was speaking at a two-day training workshop organised in Tamale on the theme: “Preparing the Senior High School Tutors for Effective Teaching in the Era of COVID-19 and Future Pandemics: the Role of DAAD Alumni”.

It was organised by DAAD Alumni and supported by the Ghana Science Association, and participants included SHS tutors and students from seven SHSs in the Northern Region and staff of public universities including UDS and the University of Cape Coast.

The SHSs were Yendi SHS, Vittin SHS, Savelugu SHS, St Charles Minor Seminary SHS, Tamale Girls SHS, Ghana SHS, and Tamale SHS.

It was to train participants on how to use online platforms effectively for teaching and learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants were introduced to e-learning platforms such as zoom, Instagram, adoctus amongst others.

Dr Helegbe said “COVID-19 has brought a new normal, limiting the number of individuals in classrooms and gatherings, and therefore it has affected so many activities including teaching and learning for students and lecturers. So, we have to be innovative.”

He added that “While the universities were making strides during the lockdown, we observed that the SHSs had a challenge; they do not have the environment to encourage learning in schools. The students are not allowed to use smartphones and laptops in schools and that limits their exposure.”

He said “if SHS students miss out and topics are not handled properly, it will have a challenge for them and also for the lecturers at the university” hence, need to adopt online platforms for continuous teaching and learning to properly prepare them for tertiary education.

He urged SHS tutors and students to impress on the heads of their schools the need to adopt ICT tools for continuous teaching and learning.

The GES’ regulations do not permit students to use mobile phones at SHSs in the country.

Dr Abdul Nashirudeen Mumuni, Head of Department, Medical Imaging, UDS, and Honourary General Secretary, Ghana Science Association endorsed the call for SHS students to use ICT equipment in school, saying there was need for a policy to guide the use of ICT equipment for teaching and learning at SHS level.

Mr Zakari Nuhu, Chemistry Teacher at Tamale SHS lauded the training, saying the only challenge to its implementation was the fact that ICT devices such as mobile phones were not permitted for use by students.

Master Mohammed Ibrahim, a form two General Science student from the Yendi SHS, said “Before the emergence of COVID-19, we spent much time in school, which helped us to cover a lot of lessons in the syllabi. In this COVID-19 situation, we spend less time in school. We do not cover all the lessons. E-learning can help us study even at home on our own to cover more lessons.”

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