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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Anambra Higher Institution Bars Students from Using Android Phones, Greeting Church Members

 

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

In what could be better described as an unorthodox and paradoxical move, the Management of the Millennium College of Nursing Science, Awka, Anambra State (a HND-awarding higher institution), has reportedly barred the students of the school from using Android phones, among other restrictions recently placed on them.

This is coming on the eve of another allegation that the Management of the mission school has also barred the students from greeting church members or exchanging pleasantries with them, especially when they attend church service.

According to sources from the school who pleaded anonymity, the restrictions were announced to them by the Provost of the school owned by the Anglican Diocese of Awka, Mrs. Chisom Ezulike.

It was gathered that the barring of the use of Android phones came few days after a student of the school allegedly stole a colleague’s Android phone at the Matar Hostel, which, although, was eventually recovered.

This singular act was said to have infuriated the Provost, that she consequently ordered all the students of the school to submit their Android phones, and which she seized up and declined to return them to the owners thereafter, announcing to them that the use of Android phones by students has henceforth been barred in the school.

It was also alleged that one of the students, in the process of the phone submission, attempted to outsmart the school authority by submitting an empty phone pouch sealed with a phone screen guard on its top, but was however caught in the act, and may face suspension or outright expulsion from the school after facing the school’s Disciplinary Panel.

It was gathered that the students who have been using android phones since the establishment of the school few years ago, made several appeals and attempts to convince the Provost to understand their need for Android phone, especially for enhancing their learning and research in this digital era and computer age, exploring digital opportunities and engaging in some genuine online businesses to lessen financial burdens for their parents; as well as for communicating with their parents (for those whose parents or guardians reside abroad). These explanations and appeal, they said, she all snubbed, allegedly boasting that her say was the final and that nobody could question her on her decision, as the school has been handed over to her to manage.

She was said to have mandated students to buy small button phones as the only recommended phone in the school, adding that the seized android phones would be handed over to their parents, who have reportedly been informed to come and pick their childrens’ phones and buy them button phones on their way coming (for those who don’t have button phones yet).

Although, students who are married were said to be exempted from the Android phone use restriction, the Provost was also accused of exempting one other (unmarried) student who is suspected to be her informant, from the restriction, as he still uses and flaunts his android phone till date while others have theirs seized. The sources explained that restriction on the use of Android phone was not contained in the rules and regulations booklet given to the students when they arrived the school.

Also hanging on the neck of the Provost is the allegation of barring the students from greeting and exchanging pleasantries with church members when they attend church services and programs.

This reporter, Izunna Okafor, was reliably informed that the alleged restriction was because of the Provost’s perceived suspicion and assumption that the students were mingling with the opposite sex church members, and as a result of its perceived potential in causing them to lose focus in their academic pursuit.

“She said she had been seeing our movements with some opposite sex church members and how we have been greeting and mingling with them. So, she warned that whenever we come to church that she doesn’t want to see us greeting anybody again, that we should just walk straight to the seats reserved for us, and after that after church service, we should move straight to our hostels,” one of the sources recounted.

The sources also alleged that amidst the current economic hardship in the country, some of the students who already have some of the recommended textbooks are still being compelled buy the same textbooks again from the school authority, including the expensive ones among them.

When contacted by this reporter for clarification, the Provost, Mrs. Ezulike confirmed the ban on the use of Android phones in the schools, adding that the students are only free to use their android phones when they return home to their parents during holidays.

While she declined to explain what specifically led to the ban, she hinted that so many things had happened in the past that prompted the decision.

“So many things led to the ban of the use of Android phone, even some things that led to the police to go and investigate. And so, on that note, their parents were alerted to come and pick their phones,” she said.

According to her, it is a must in the school that all the students should come to the school with their laptops, as all their exams are going into CBT, and not pen and paper.

“They can still research and socialize with their laptops. We also have our e-libraries. So, that is the reason for withdrawing them from accessing their android phones, and because of so many reasons which I would not want to disclose to an outsider,” she added.

When asked the if the restriction on the use of android phones had been in place in the school since inception and whether it had any connection with the alleged theft in one of the school hostels, the Provost attested that the students were allowed to come with and use their android phones because of the need, adding that the disadvantage is now more that the advantage.

“When they came in, we allowed them to use their android phones because of the need; but now, the disadvantage has outweighed the advantage of the phone usage. So it is better they concentrate on what they came for.

“If it is to socialize, when they use their laptops, it will limit them to some certain things. There are so many things that phone has been causing, negatively, affecting the students. So it is better they concentrate on why they are here,” she said.

When asked if there are alternative provisions for students who may want to reach out to their parents, she stressed that the students had button phones through which they can contact their parents, adding that there are also landlines in the hostels.

She also confirmed the case of a student who was caught for submitting empty phone pouch and screen guard during the submission period, which she described as a criminal act, adding that whatever the school’s Disciplinary Committee would decide on his case would be implemented.

Concerning the allegation of forcing the students to re-buy the textbooks they already have, the Provost attested that there were some textbooks that were made mandatory for the students for the students to buy. She, however denied knowing that some of them already had it, adding that anyone who has the textbooks already should bring same to her for confirmation.

She also denied barring them totally from greeting church members, but however clarified that she warned them that the greetings must not go beyond ordinary and causal greeting.

“They are adults. If they see somebody, they should cheerfully greet. It is when the greeting or maybe the association is getting out of hands that I will complain, or when the greeting results to a students leaving the hostel and going to someone’s house to stay overtime, in the name of church member. No, we can’t take that; except if the parents are involved and permit that, maybe because they are related somehow, fine and good.

“But there is an extent a greeting will go, it won’t be a mere greeting again, and we won’t allow that,” she concluded.

She was also alleged to have gathered and addressed the students of the higher institution after the interview, during which she also allegedly threatened to frustrate and deal with them for reporting her to journalist, still boasting that nobody can rescue them from her hands, even if they report the matter to the Archbishop. Anonymous sources also revealed that the Provost angrily locked up the WhatsApp group where the students’ parents interact with the school’s authority, after she allegedly scolded at them for complaining against the ban on their use of android phones at such a digital age, and the accompanying effects of such decision.

As though that was not enough, the Provost also also reportedly barred from belonging to or associating with any group in the church, even as she allegedly threatened those who belong to Gospel Band, Choir, and other organizations in the church with severe sanctions if they didn’t denounce their memberships and stop attending/participating in the activities of the church groups; all in expression of her anger for reporting her to a journalist.

In addition to these, the Provost and her husband also physically accosted this reporter later after the interview and issued him with many threats, vowing to deal with him if he publishes the report; even as the husband pleads for the removal of the wife’s name in any publication concerning that.

The Provost also claimed to know the students who reported her dealings with them to the journalist, vowing to also fish them out and deal with them one by one.

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