The headmaster of Damongo Senior High School in the Northern Region ordered the burning of over 300 mobile phones seized from students in a collaborative overnight raid by teachers, house masters and senior prefects, after the students’ performance in this year’s West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination shocked and angered school authorities.
The decision was taken Thursday morning in a crunch staff meeting chaired by the headmaster, Alhaji Harrison, who was furious over the poor performance of his students.
The school authorities over the years have been complaining about the rampant use of mobile gadgets by students on campus and even during class session which they said was breeding indiscipline among students.
After several warnings, the headmaster decided to carry out the ‘search, seize and destroy’ measure to discourage the use of mobile phones in the school. The school blamed the alarming campus indiscipline for the poor performance of students.
Nearly 300 phones were taken from the students during class and preps periods by staff of the school.
Speaking to a large gathering of students before the phones were burnt, the headmaster warned to expel any student caught with or using mobile phone on campus. He said the action was to dissuade others from bringing mobile phones to school and to help curb student indiscipline.
A teacher also said the just released WASSCE results indicate that the school’s performance is very much below average.
The school which over the years used to be in the category A section in the records of the West Africa Examination Council, according to the teacher, is now in the category C.
He said students spend more time on phones than their books and studies, especially senior female students who virtually spend all night making and receiving calls from their lovers.
Some students whose phones were seized and destroyed condemned the action by the school authorities as harsh and wicked. One form 2 female student from a town in the Volta Region, who lost her Samsung galaxy phone her parent bought for her weeks ago, said she used her phone only to communicate with her parents.
As she complains about the kind of meal cooked for them, she said it will now be difficult to reach out to her parents to make request in her times of need and added she is stranded by the action of the school authorities.
Many of them also made similar claims about using the phones to contact their parents, following the numerous challenges they faced in the school.
Two years ago, some boarding students were sacked from the school after they were caught in a rented building in the town allegedly having sexual encounters.
The Ghana Education Service has no clear regulations on the use of mobile phones in schools by students .This has forced many school authorities to take solitary measures to deal with the situation including seizing and destroying the gadgets.
Others seize the phones into their custody and handover to the students at the end of the term.
However, these actions have always sparked rioting and disturbances by students sometimes leading to the destruction of properties.
In the Gonjaland district especially, police were deployed to the Tinga Senior High School recently when students rampaged through the school campus after authorities seized their mobile phones. In Karaga, students chased away teachers and destroyed school properties over the seizure of their mobile devices.