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France to Ban Cell Phone Use in Schools in 2018

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According to a report by The Guardian, the French government has announced that students will be banned from using cell phones in the country’s primary, junior and middle schools, starting September next year. While children will be allowed to bring their phones to school, they will not be allowed to get them out at any time until they leave, even during breaks.

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The measure, which was proposed in Emmanuel Macron’s successful presidential election campaign this year, will apply to all students from the time they start school at age of 6, up to about 15 when they start secondary school. Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French education minister, revealed that some education establishments already prohibited students from using their mobiles. 

“Sometimes you need a mobile for teaching reasons … for urgent situations, but their use has to be somehow controlled,” Macron said. The minister said the ban was also a “public health message to families”. The French headteachers’ union however remains skeptical about enforcing such a ban.

“This new announcement from the [education] ministry leaves us dubious because we’re having trouble understanding what is the real issue here. In general, we’re used to them being logical and pragmatic about things, and here, we can’t find the logic or the pragmatism in the announcements,” said Philippe Vincent, the union’s deputy general secretary.

Parents seemed uncertain too. “It’s probably a good idea when the kids are in school, but they can’t ban them bringing them to school,” said Sabine. “My daughter goes to school and comes home on her own, and at this time of year it’s dark so early, so I want her to have a phone with her. It’s reassuring.”

Local education officials are now studying how the mobile ban can be put into effect.

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  • Olivier

    This should just be the norm. As someone who studied in France, they have a huge scolar system problems which is most likely cultural. They just don’t seem to care about school at all. I never had the right to have a cellphone in school up until college, and even ow some teachers don’t like it at all.

  • Olley

    omg We need this in Canada! Kids are dumb af.

  • Joe

    I’m fortunate to have never been in school when smartphones were a problem. I am not sure where to come down on this. Phones are a tool and kids should learn how to use them, but at the same time they are a huge distraction.

  • FragilityG4

    I never had a phone in school as they weren’t widespread then. I did, however, have a pager and even that was distracting. I’m not sure why this hasn’t been implemented in Canada. Yes a phone can be a tool, but it is a distraction and it can also be a means of cheating.

  • Olivier

    In my phone I couldnt have a cellphone in classes. One school was not tolerating phones at all, the other only during classes. Sanctions were applied if you were caught with it, most of the time being 24 hours to a week of hold

  • FragilityG4

    A province or country wide decision would be the only way this would work. It can’t be left up to boards or schools to decide.

  • AccordTR

    As a high school teacher in Manitoba I can tell you I do NOT allow phones in my room. Any student who decides their phone is more important than my lesson is asked to try again tomorrow.

  • Olivier

    Maybe but who’s gonna apply the rules/sanctions ? I mean students are not going to get tickets for having phones in class… I think it’s up to schools to make up their rules, and make sure students are paying attention in classes.

  • FragilityG4

    I think things would work better with a blanket rule. It would be up to the schools to come up with their own enforcement. I think it would have to be confiscation for a predetermined amount of time.

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