Call for ban on cellphones in schools

The National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) wants a ban on children using cellphones at South Africa’s schools, Beeld newspaper reported on Friday (4 May 2012).

According to the NASGB, this was crucial to allow pupils to focus on their work, and to “protect them against irregularities on social networks”.

Matakanye Matakanye, NASGB secretary, told Beeld cellphones were a distraction that resulted in the disintegration of the teaching environment.

“The things children find on social networks are shocking. They pollute children’s thoughts and prevent them from learning anything,” he said.

It did not help to simply tell children that they could bring their phones to school, but they were not allowed to switch them on, so governing bodies should “prioritise a revision of cellphone policy”, Matakanye said.

Other school governing bodies said it would be impossible to enforce a ban on cellphones. Paul Colditz, head of the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas), said the onus was on teachers to ensure phones were not used for the wrong purpose.

Tim Gordon, CEO of the Governing Body Foundation, said it would be selfish to ban cellphones, as they were an important safety device that kept children and parents in touch.

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Call for ban on cellphones in schools