The National Curriculum Development Centre- NCDC yesterday requested the Ministry of Education to allow senior one and two learners to use smartphones in class.
The request came after numerous complaints from schools about the lack of textbooks to deliver the new curriculum to lower secondary schools and that with the use of smartphones, students would be able to acquire study material online.
Now, The Fatboy Show Presenters Olive Najjuma and James Onen aka Fatboy said that although the use of smartphones to access study content may be viable, it poses more cons than pros.
“I feel that there are more cons than pros because suppose the teacher says, ‘Open page 15 on your phone,’I doubt they will actually follow instruction. Even an adult can be distracted on their phone. For instance; one can pick up their phone to check an email, then a Whatsapp message pops in, before you know it a Facebook notification and 30 minutes later you are scrolling through Tik Tok yet you haven’t even read the email you wanted to. So how do you expect children of 15 or 16 years to have the attention to focus on one thing?” Olive asked.
Fatboy acknowledged the NCDC’s proposal saying that it would solve the problem of limited access to textbooks. However, he too said that smartphones have multiple functions and apps that can easily disrupt the attention of students.
Olive in addition explained that the unavailability of study materials stemmed from the unpreparedness of the NCDC that wasn't given enough time to train teachers on the new curriculum where a few of them could have been taught and then sent back to train the rest of their colleagues. She also added that the study material isn't also readily available.
She further wondered how many schools and children would be able to afford the use of smartphones to access study material. Fatboy additionally described that children in school are compelled to wear school uniforms to make them feel equal and hence allowing them to use smartphones which have different price categories can be inequitable.
Despite the countable shortcomings of the proposal, Fatboy was glad that the conversation was taking place since RX Radio also operates in the online sphere and the discussion shows clear steps towards the future.
“Back when we first started, there were concerns about the internet usage among Ugandans, whether it's a viable thing and whether it's not limited. But two years down the road, the internet proliferation has grown to a point where people are discussing sharing curriculums on a national level online! That shows that the internet is the future and being already in that space, I think we are in a good place,” he said confidently.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive and Sarah every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.