Education proposes banning the use of cell phones in all schools and institutes

The Ministry of Education proposed this Wednesday to the autonomous communities to ban the use of cell phones by students in all schools and institutes in the country. Minister Pilar Alegría took advantage of the presence of the Ministers of Education at the first sectoral conference of the new legislature to inform them that she will summon them again in the first weeks of January, so that they try to achieve an agreement valid in all areas. autonomy in the use of these telephones in educational centers.

Alegría also announced what proposal the ministry will put on the table for debate and common reflection. He will defend that mobile phones must be completely banned during class hours in the six primary years and that the use of smartphones will also be prohibited as a general rule during class hours in ESO, Baccalaureate and High School institutes. Professional Training (FP). The only exception will be that teachers allow them in class under their supervision and only to develop educational content.

The ministry is also committed, added Alegría, to continue working on digital training for teachers and students to achieve correct and healthy use of mobile devices and to generalize knowledge of their risks and benefits. “It is our duty and our interest to ensure that minors can have a healthy and healthy relationship with technological media,” he assured, while explaining that this is a question that goes beyond by far the limits of the schools.

According to available data, 75% of mobile phone use by young people takes place outside of school hours. The problem of excessive use of smartphones by young people requires, according to the head of the department, the involvement and decisions of more public and private entities than those simply educational. For this reason, he commented, “education cannot be the answer to everything, but it must be part of the solution.”

Coordination and unity

The minister, who stressed that her proposal had been received “very positively” by all the autonomous representatives, declared that her objective is to reach an agreement of “coordination and unity” with all the autonomy, responsible for the execution of educational skills. . He gave as an example of what the unity of action carried out by the ministry and departments to organize courses at the height of the coronavirus pandemic aims to achieve.

Alegría also explained that before making a decision, she wants to extend the reflection and debate to the rest of the educational community in the country (parents, teachers and students), and therefore she intends to discuss this subject with these groups within the State Board of Education. .

Three governments have already banned the use of cell phones in schools. These are Castile-La Mancha and Galicia, since 2014, and Madrid, since 2020. Currently, the debate is open in Catalonia, where the Generalitat is preparing guidelines to guide schools and institutes.

A UNESCO report claims that cell phones in classrooms are distracting and detrimental to learning, but they also make it difficult for teachers to manage classes as they are a source of distractions, disruptions and even an instrument of intimidation. The PISA report spoke in similar terms this month after listening to assessments on the subject from teenagers, teachers and the management team. This is only a nuance, because in the same spirit, the ministry also defends the possibility of educational and supervised use of mobile phones in high schools, because it considers that a total ban would create a lot of anxiety among students and perhaps more harm than benefit. .

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