THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The increased availability of mobile phones among children, thanks to the online mode of instruction followed over the past two years, and their misuse in schools have prompted the general education department to evolve a fresh set of guidelines regarding its use.
The move comes in the wake of students bringing mobile phones to the campus even after the pandemic subsided and instruction in schools returned to offline mode.
The General Education Department issued periodic circulars in 2005, 2010 and 2019 banning students from carrying mobile phones to campuses and restricting their use by teachers during class hours.
In the latest circular, restrictions were also imposed on the use of social media by teachers while in schools.
However, the department is planning to evolve new guidelines as mobile devices are still being used to support the traditional offline mode of education.
“It should be remembered that digital devices are still being used for learner support after regular school hours. Therefore, a new set of guidelines, that also takes this factor into account, is being framed,” said Santhosh CA, Additional Director, General Education Department.
While prescribing a stricter ban on mobile devices within the campus, the proposed circular would also include guidelines on its proper use by the students off-campus, the official added.
According to a source, the guidelines will also prescribe a list of apps that should not be accessed by students while using mobile devices for educational purposes.
Methods to prevent misuse of devices to access social media and pornography will also be included.
The guidelines are also expected to prescribe a greater role for parents in checking the content on such devices and ensuring that it is not carried to the school campus.
During the pandemic, the government itself launched major initiatives to supply digital devices to ensure uninterrupted studies, especially for underprivileged children who were unable to afford them.
“Mobile phones, which once were a strict no-no for children, have become an integral part of their daily life. These devices, which were till recently used for online instruction, are now being increasingly misused to access social media, pornography and gaming while on the campus,” said the principal of a private school in the capital.
While a few private schools have imposed huge fines on students bringing mobile phones to schools and also directed the parents to keep a watch, the ban is not followed strictly in government schools, it is pointed out.
“The focus should be on strict implementation of the norm on the campus for which the school’s Parent Teacher Association should play a major role,” said AV Indulal of Kerala Aided Teachers’ Association. “Ironically, parents, especially of girl students, encourage their children to carry mobile phones when they leave home to ensure their security,” he added.
- Government to come up with a fresh circular with guidelines on mobile phone use in schools.
- A new set of guidelines is planned as digital devices are still used for learner support.
- Guidelines to list out apps that can be misused for accessing social media, and pornography.
- A greater role for parents/guardians is proposed to check content and control misuse.
- Circulars were issued in 2005, 2010 and 2019 banning mobile phone use by students.
- Despite periodic circulars, the ban is not being implemented effectively in most schools.