Netherlands and Finland to ban mobile phones in classrooms

The ban aims to give students the chance to concentrate on their studies without distractions. It was agreed on by the education ministry, schools and related organizations.

The Dutch government is banning mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches from classrooms to minimize distractions unless the electronic devices are of solid need to the students.

The Education Ministry of the Netherlands said on Tuesday the ban will be enforced starting January 1, 2024. Exceptions will be made for lessons on digital skills, or if students with disabilities or other medical conditions need the devices.

What did the ministry say?

The ban has been agreed on by the Education Ministry, schools and other related organizations.

Dutch Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf said mobile phones don’t belong in the classroom, even though they “are intertwined with our lives.”

“Students need to be able to concentrate and need to be given the opportunity to study well. Mobile phones are a disturbance, scientific research shows. We need to protect students against this,” he added in a statement.

Dijkgraaf said schools will be given the space to implement the ban as per their own plans, but warned that legal rules would apply if the ban was not implemented by the summer of 2024.

The Dutch decision follows a similar one in Finland announced last week.

In Germany, only the state of Bavaria formally banned mobile phones in schools until the last academic year, when the ban was relaxed.

German freedom laws generally contradict a ban on mobile phones, though schools have the freedom to issue their own regulations.

Source: DW

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