Over the years, possessing a mobile phone in teacher training institutions, more so PTCs, has been a crime that could lead to a suspension or expulsion of a student. College authorities have also been making a timely and abrupt check to ensure that student teachers are not hiding these gadgets anywhere.
The Department of Teacher/Tutor, Instructor Education,
and Training- TIET has finally lifted the ban on the use of mobile
smartphones in the National
Teachers’ Colleges and Primary Teachers Colleges.
Over the years, possessing a mobile phone in teacher
training institutions has been a crime that could lead to the suspension or expulsion of a student-teacher. College authorities have been making abrupt checks to ensure that the student teachers do not hide gadgets anywhere.
Moses Bateganya, a Principal Education Officer in the Department of Teacher/Tutor, Instructor Education,
and Training- TIET says that the ban on phones was intended to ensure that trainees are not distracted as many could grossly misuse the
Bateganya, however, hastens to add that 'times have
changed' making such policies untenable because the gadgets can be better used as
instructional materials for students at this level. He notes that students will
not only carry phones to colleges but they will also be allowed to use them
even during class with guidance from the tutors.
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Bateganya adds that the move is part of the broader
changes in teacher education which will ensure that teachers are equipped with
ICT pedagogical skills to meet the needs of learners in the 21st
Joyce Zesiro Kayondo, the Principal of Shimoni Primary Teacher’s
College who also doubles as the chairperson of the Principals' Association of
Uganda-PAU shares that at first, the idea found resistance among principals but
they changed their mindset with the advent of COVID-19.
“When schools closed, we couldn’t reach out to learners.
However, phones ended up being the best way to ensure that the
teaching-learning process doesn’t end. Now, many people have seen the positive
side of allowing students to be with their phones,” Kayondo says. He adds that while cell phones can be used as
learning tools, it is a challenge to make sure that students are using them for
“Being a new phenomenon in our teaching-learning
environment, we expect that there will be some misuses. Many students will end
up using their cell phones to check social media and text their friends in
class-leading to distractions for those students as well as for their peers,” she
Meanwhile, Bateganya adds that the principals’
association is currently developing rules and regulations that will guide
trainees on the effective use of phones while at college. This will help
regulate and curb the misuse of these tools for purposes other than education.
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Kayondo says they have also engaged students to come up
with some of the rules. “For example, at Shimoni, the students themselves have
suggested that if someone is found misusing the device, the gadget will be
confiscated for good.”
Annet Najjuuko, a student-teacher at Kabulasoke PTC, says
that allowing teacher trainees to have smartphones has already excited everyone
as they have longed for it.
“I think someone at this level of education is mature enough
to know how to effectively use the phone. But, all along teachers (trainees)
have been treated as nursery kids. These days’ learners in primary in many
schools carry tablets or smartphones," she says.
adds that the new development will not only help teacher trainees to learn how
to integrate ICT in teaching but also enable them better their performance
through research on the internet as they will be open to a wide range of learning
materials which at the time is available in the college libraries