By Harry Fisher|
A group of parents has started an online petition campaign to force Zimbabwe’s education minister Lazarus Dokora to compel all schools to allow the use of cellphones by students on campus.
This follows the brutal abduction and rape of a Bulawayo school girl by a minibus crew. According to police, the Evelyn High school girl was forcibly drugged by the attackers, who then abused her and dumped her in Lobengula West after several hours.
The parents, going under the banner ‘Citizens for Justice’, said the government should discipline schools which violated its policy on the use of cellphones. The government permits the use of cellphones, in line with the UN universal declaration of human rights. However, some schools, especially Roman Catholic ones have banned their use claiming that mobile phones promote pornography.
“Cellphones are allowed in some schools and this has not led to any increase in pornographic activity. In fact, with the high cost of books and other reading materials, cellphones are the answer,” said Lungile Khumalo, a retired teacher leading the campaign.
Turning to the Bulawayo girl who was attacked, Khumalo said the attack might have been prevented if she had a phone.
“This girl could easily have called for help when the attack started. That would have made it easier for her parents to track her down,” Khumalo said.
The activist said beside being denied access to educational resources, school children were being denied recreation as most cellphones featured games, movies and music.
The debate over cellphones in schools spilled into the senate recently. Dokora stood his ground and urged the senators to move with the times and embrace new technology.
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