Mobile phones banned during school hours
The Ministry of Education has announced that as from the beginning of the third school term which starts on Monday, primary and secondary pupils will not be permitted to make use of their mobile phones during school hours.
The ban on mobile phone use will apply the very moment a pupil enters the school gate, to the time he or she leaves the school’s premises.
If a guideline on the use of mobile phones was already part of the schools’ code of conduct, it will now be the first time that the ministry implements the ban through a clearly defined policy.
The policy was presented to the schools’ head teachers yesterday morning, by the principal secretary for early childhood, primary and secondary education Merida Delcy.
This was during a meeting with the head teachers at the ministry’s headquarters, meeting which also served as a preparation for the third term of the 2015 school year and which also addressed other issues.
Also present was the director general for schools Odile Octave and other senior education officials.
Ms Delcy explained that the ban, which is not limited to making calls or texting but also include using a mobile phone as calculator, camera, recorder or other functions, will help restore control and order in schools, create a suitable learning environment and keep the schools and pupils safe from any form of mobile phone misuse.
She is hopeful that the effective implementation of the policy will eliminate many of the behavioural problems the schools are currently facing.
As per the new policy, any student who violates the ban will have his or her mobile phone confiscated.
In case a student needs to contact his or her parents or vice-versa, this will be done through the school’s communication system.
As teachers should lead by example, they will as from Monday also not be permitted to carry their mobile phones in the classroom.
Whether this is linked to the use of mobile phone or not, the Ministry of Education has meanwhile once again confirmed that Seychellois girls are outperforming boys in most subjects.
The discovery, which is not new to the ministry, was made following investigative visits carried out by its Inspectorate Unit in eight of the country’s primary schools.
While the Ministry of Education claims that pupils are performing reasonably well and meeting targets in most schools, the investigative exercise has also shown that most of them are not performing to the expected level in literacy and numeracy, including English and Mathematics.
Moreover, according to the director for primary schools Cyril Pillay, there is no effective mechanism in place to track down pupils who are not attaining specific learning objectives and the mentoring programme is not being effectively implemented.
Mr Pillay, who made a presentation to the head teachers on the issue, revealed that recent lesson observations reveal that only 1% of lessons observed could be generally rated as very good, while 18 % were judged to be poor.
He has noted that in many cases, “lesson planning is inconsistent and piecemeal with objectives not well formulated”.
The observations have also concluded that teachers lack innovative strategies, with for example no variety in questioning techniques and lack of group work.
Mr Pillay has consequently asked the head teachers to “go back to school” and take actions to remedy what can be felt like an alarming situation.
These include defining proper assessment guidelines, making use of data to track pupils’ progress, putting more effort on re-teaching and re-testing, planning and delivering lessons adequately.
Head teachers should also focus more on teaching and learning and put into place a mechanism which makes teachers accountable for pupils’ poor achievements.
Mr Pillay is however confident that after the ministry has shared the reports with individual schools and has started implementing rehabilitation programmes, the problem can be addressed in the short-term.
“One month can be enough if necessary steps are taken,” he confidently ensured.
During yesterday’s meeting, head teachers were also presented with recommendations for a more effective school management structure.
They were equally briefed on the new teachers’ appraisal scheme and how to better prepare their budgets and keep their account books.
It is worth noting that one primary school – Grand Anse Mahé – was commended for its effective financial management.
Source: NATION 9-4-15