Dutch secondary schools to impose total ban on mobile phones

Netherlands classroom
Netherlands classroom Copyright Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Philip Andrew Churm with EVN
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Secondary schools in the Netherlands are preparing for a government ban on all mobile phones amid fears they distract students


Following unrest and disturbances in classrooms across the Netherlands, the government has urgently informed schools that in a few months it will ban the use of cell phones by pupils. 

Meanwhile, some schools have done so of their own accord. It is a move welcomed by Education Minister, Robbert Dijkgraaf: "We have therefore not opted for a legal ban at this time. 

"We are going to look very closely at whether this works, this decision. 

"Because, of course, there could always be a legal ban. But I actually assume that we can arrange this together."

But many students say it is a bad idea.  Some people get distracted. but phones can also be a work tool.

One girl explained: "In biology actually very often, in Dutch very often and crafting, and during the subject people and society I really never do." 

Another said it is "mainly the lessons where teachers don't really pay attention or let you work a bit more independently."

One girl suggested it was the teachers' fault if students use their mobile devices: "If teachers don't put energy into the lesson, you also notice that students don't really do their best and then they go on their phones.'

What is certain is that experts have long been warning of the negative effects of mobile phones in the classroom: they suggest they distract and undermine school performance. 

The ban will apply to secondary schools from the beginning of January 2024.

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