PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora on Thursday defended the use of smartphones and tablets for learning purposes in schools, saying Zimbabwe should move with technological advances.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Dokora was appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Arts, Sport and Culture chaired by Shurugwi South MP Tapiwanashe Matangaidze where he argued smart phones would empower and not endanger schoolchildren.
MDC-T proportional representation MP Nicola Watson asked Dokora to explain if allowing children to use smart phones or tablets during classes would not result in them accessing pornographic material or even failing to concentrate on their studies.
“When we were children ,these innovations were not there and we used to draw shapes and diagrams on the sand, but smart phones are now mini-computers and children can do different assignments using them, or even Google for information,” he said.
“A school like Harare High School has a ZOL WiFi mast and it means WiFi is available throughout the perimeter fence of the school and it can be useful for learning purposes.”
Dokora said there would not be any opportunity for children to access pornographic material during lessons using such technology because teachers would be responsible for giving them access codes and monitoring any signs of abuse.
“Every teacher who will give an assignment on Google will give an access code and pornographic sites will be off limit. At the end of the day, the teacher will have a profile of what every child had been doing and if there was an attempt to go on pornographic sites, it can be recorded and reported to parents,” he said.
“Schools have controlling environments. Previously, we used to have voice phones, but now computer and cellphone technology has developed to the extent it can carry data such as graphic images using phones.
“Computers now appear in the market as laptops, tablets and smart phones — and if you say a child should not use a smart phone, but they can use a laptop, it does not make sense as they now have the same functions.”