By Alex Byakatonda

KABALE: The Ministry of Education and Sports has given smart phones and tablets to government-aided learning institutions in Kabale District as one of the ministry’s strategies to track the daily attendance of both teachers and learners and crackdown on teacher-learner absenteeism.

Addressing the heads of these institutions on Thursday, the acting Kabale District Education Officer, Moses Tumwijukye Byengye, said that the district received 130 smart phones to be distributed to 113 universal primary schools, 15 government-aided secondary schools, and two technical schools in the district.

He said that the phones were distributed as part of the ministry’s strategy to introduce digital monitoring, evaluation, and reporting by head teachers, using digitalized data management and information sharing systems.

Bwengye adds that the smart phones have been updated with information about each teacher at a school who will be required to use them to clock in using their face, fingerprint, or pin.

Some school principals expressed mixed feelings about the use of these phones. The head teacher of Buhara Seed secondary schools, Grace Tumukunde, expressed worry that it will be hard for the head teachers to compel teachers to remain at school, since some of them stay out due to a lack of accommodations, while others do part-time teaching in other schools.

However, the St Francis College Kyanamira Secondary School Head Teacher, Godfrey Besigye, noted that the digitalized monitoring system was long overdue, adding that it will help crack a whip on teachers who have developed a habit of absenteeism and subsequently improve the academic performances of learners.

The Kabale Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Ritah Elizabeth Byiringiro, noted that the digitalized monitoring system will help to discipline the errant teachers, who are employed by the government but spend most of their time teaching in private schools at the expense of
government schools.

She warned such teachers who cannot work in accordance with the terms and conditions of their jobs to resign, saying that her office will not hesitate to punish them.

Presiding over the handover of the phones at the district council hall, the Kabale Resident District Commissioner, Godfrey Nyakahuma, asked the heads of schools to effectively use the phones in order to reduce the absenteeism of teachers and learners in schools.

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