KITGUM — Last week, St Joseph’s Hospital Training School of nursing and midwifery announced a ban on cellphones and other personal electronics for its students.
“These devices continue to cause major attention and behavioural problems for our students and they are interfering with student learning,” the school reportedly said according to QFM in Kitgum.
By Monday, students were holding a demonstration demanding that the school authorities reverse their decisions to allow them access mobile phones for research since the institution Computer laboratory is ill-equipped.
They also petitioned the office of the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech outlining long lists of their grievances among others alleged poor welfare, suppression of free speech, lack of recreational activities and denial to participate in external examination
Other grievances were alleged promotion of sectarianism, corruption and missing of lectures by the Institution Principal Tutor Rev Sister Elizabeth Candiru whom they resolved in their petition should be sacked.
Although, about 200 of them have been suspended for demonstrating against ban of mobile phones at the Institution, source say the school is expected to walk back the decision as pressure continue to pile from stakeholders.
Speaking to PML Daily on phone, a top administrator said final year students could still bring devices to school, as the administration conducted “a further review of our decision.”
The decision has quickly caused concern from the public with speculation, criticism and praise — with some suggesting the school caved to pressure from parents, and others saying a middle ground policy is necessary.
The quick flip-flop — and the reaction — illustrates the complicated factors at play when setting rules around device usage in schools.
Meanwhile, commenting on the suspension, Dr Pamela Akot, the Medical Director St Joseph’s Hospital Kitgum who is also overseeing the Nursing and midwifery training school says the suspension follows resolutions reached at by the institution management and Board of Directors.
She said the school management and board of directors during an emergency meeting held on the same deemed it fit for the students to be sent back home to reflect on their actions before they return back to school.
“The students baseless allegations against their tutors left many of them annoyed, their actions of demonstrating were also improper and against our principles. We felt they should be sent home for all the parties [students and tutors] to cool off before they all can begin lectures and studies,” Dr Akot told local media.
Dr Akot says 15 students who didn’t participate in the demonstration are however at the school adding they will continue to receive normal teaching while their counterparts are at home.
She says the suspension will last two weeks adding that the students are expected to return with their parents for a meeting on September 23rd.