September 12, 2013

Head Teachers: Facebook, Twitter To Blame For School Strikes

Head teachers of highly performing schools in Kampala and neighboring towns have concurred that social media trends are to blame for increasing cases of strikes that have encompassed several schools in the country.

They argue that through social media, students are able to update each other on trends in schools and even hype out grievances so that once a strike breaks out in one school, it quickly spreads like a bushfire.

Students who were arrested for participating in a school strike recently.
Students who were arrested for participating in a school strike recently. Head Teachers have blamed social media trends for the increase in strikes.

Baliinasenko Aida Annet, Headmistress at Iganga SSS, says that the grievances are sometimes trivial and unwarranted.

But head teachers are challenged to seek new strategies to prevent strikes and also quick ways to intercept full blown strikes before they become destructive. It is observed that some school administration still use high handed rules that are out of touch with reality.

Katimbo Gordon, Head teacher Hilton High School in Mukono, says Information Communication Technology (ICT), is a critical aspect in student’s education, but students are abusing this facility for other social media interests such as Facebook, Twitter, chats and even dating sites.

Students in secondary schools demand for the right to use social media platforms like Twitter.
Students in secondary schools demand for the right to use social media platforms like Twitter.

He is against allowing students to carry any electronic gadget in schools including mobile phones, radio’s CD players, and laptops as this may destruct student’s concentration in academic work.

Whether the school administration should change to adopt the vibrant technological environment to communicate and get in touch with happenings around the world.

Dr. Yusuf Nsubuga Director Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports argues that, it is high time head teachers found a way to tap into the new media as a valuable academic asset rather than banning it.

For instance, Dr. Nsubuga says some students have been able to invent mobile applications that have ushered them into software entrepreneurship. He argues the Ministry of Education is rethinking on how to review the traditional curriculum which has not incorporated technological advances.

In the recent months, secondary schools in western Uganda have been marred with strikes, at least of 44 secondary schools in Sheema district were closed. Of the 44 schools, only two schools had not experienced a strike.

Out of the closed schools, 29 are private while 13 are government aided schools. As the strikes ensued head teachers were ordered to send students home as they look for solutions to avert the conflicts. The schools that closed due to the strikes are expected to re-open one week before the official opening of 3rd term. For S.4 and S.6 students, mock examinations were postponed.

Head teaches have been tasked to adopt a leadership style that encourages an open line of communication and mentor-ship for students, who are sometimes left to their own devices. Parents, the community and guardians were mentioned as important significant others that can help remodel students in their academic tenure.

The head teachers were meeting in Kampala for a leadership and management forum in Kampala, which sought to brainstorm on addressing conflicts in schools.

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