The Nkwanta Senior High School in the Volta Region has been closed down following a demonstration by students leading to a destruction of school properties.
The students embarked on the violent protest and acts of vandalism after their mobile phones were seized by the school authorities during a roll call in some of the dormitories last Monday.
Some of the properties destroyed by the students are three staff bungalows, 26 motorbikes belonging to teachers, five vehicles, including a pick-up, two school buses, a tipper truck and a car belonging to the Nkwanta Divisional Police Commander.
The rampaging students also destroyed the school’s water systems and ECG meters, leading to a power outage and the cessation of water supply to the school.
In addition, whiteboards in the classrooms were destroyed by the students.
A student who spoke to Citi News explained that they resorted to the riot because “some of the teachers informed their student girlfriends to hide their phones before the inspection” and the “decision of the teachers to destroy the phones instead of keeping and returning them to them when they vacate infuriated some students who decided to pay them (school authorities) back”.
Currently, almost all the male students have deserted the school, while the female students have been confined to their dormitories.
The debate on the use of mobile phones
The debate on whether students in senior high schools should use mobile phones started in Ghana as far back as 2006 with many taking varying positions.
Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Telecommunications Chamber, recently called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to reconsider its stance against the use of mobile phones in Senior High Schools.
Speaking at the 87th Speech and prize-giving Day celebration of the St Augustine’s College in Cape Coast, Mr Ashigbey said mobile phone usage could be properly regulated in schools to advance academic work of students.
Meanwhile, a study of a group of undergraduate students, published in the journal “Computers in Human Behavior” in 2015, found that among undergraduate students, total mobile-phone use (measured in number of minutes per day, not limited to school time) was “a significant and negative predictor of college students’ academic performance, objectively measured as cumulative GPA.”
About 35 students who are suspected to be involved in the riots are currently in police custody assisting in investigations while the school has been closed down sine die.
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