Educators mull new cell phone policy

A new policy on the use of mobile phones in schools is now before various stakeholders in education including teachers’ trade unions and school principals for consideration and comment.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones first hinted in June at the possible lifting of the ban on cellphone use by students when he said during a speech at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College that the current policy was contradictory since it suggested one set of rules for teachers and another for students.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones
Minister of Education Ronald Jones

He announced last week that a new policy would be introduced allowing students to take their phones to school because, “when we examined over the last five years or so the whole notion of a cell phone ban in schools, we recognized the smartphone is also a learning instrument and to pursue the path that we had hitherto pursued is counter to how the technology should be used for student learning”.

The minister gave further details yesterday when he addressed the weekly Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP’s) lunchtime lecture at the party’s George Street auditorium on the topic Educational Imperatives for the 21st Century: the Barbados Agenda.

He stated that the revised document, along with a new position paper on the “broader use” of the internet, would be sent to Cabinet for approval after the various interest groups submitted their input.

“As part of those policies it says parents and students must be on board and they must sign a commitment to use it properly within the schools, or then some things will happen. You will lose access to all of it,” Jones said.

Pointing to changes within the education system and developments in technology since the ban was imposed over five years ago, Jones said it was necessary to focus on high standards for all involved in the industry through “versatility in the face of change”.

The minister noted it was necessary to find ways to use technology to facilitate teaching instead of trying to “hide it from education”.

“We need to prepare the children for the great and diverse demands of the 21st century. What we will have to do is say ‘yes, we have to adapt it for education purposes, but we have to teach the ethical use of the technology’ – tablets, smartphones and whatever else will be developed in the future,” Jones said.

Stressing that “we can’t run” from technology, he noted he would be “the most half-foolish” to “empty” the technology from the classrooms in this century, and dismissed suggestions that greater use of technology in the classrooms would make it more difficult for teachers to “control” the students.

Stating that the education system “was established on failure”, Jones said, “the new mantra is about as much success as possible”.

“I hope that within the two first weeks of September that new technology policy and digital mobile policy will be in our schools. Parents will sign and students will sign saying ‘we are going to follow what is there, give them a chance to be disciplined. That is what we are going to do,” Jones said.

“And we will soon be rolling out, once the resources are there . . . We can’t run and hide. It is impossible. And Barbados has an extremely dense penetration of smartphones and tablets,” he added. (MM)

 

 

7 Responses to Educators mull new cell phone policy

  1. Sue Donym August 29, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Would parents/students be considered interested parties?

    Reply
  2. Tony Waterman August 30, 2015 at 12:36 am

    This is the biggest pile of Barnyard Manure that this Minister has produced in his Tenure, Tablets i can see as being used for Educational Purposes, but Cellphones ????? No.
    The last problem with cellphones was the Sex scene, that caused Charges against “The Nation Three”, i hope that the Minister will have an answer for the Next set of Sexing/Sexting Videos from the School System.

    BTW: what will be done when they are caught taking pictures of their exam papers, messaging them to their friend(s) outside and getting the Answers to the questions from them. because that is what will be happening.

    Laptops and Tablets YES Cellphones NO

    Reply
    • Kevin August 30, 2015 at 10:46 am

      The persons to blame for the next set of sexting, will be the same persons who have been doing it whilst cell phones were still banned.

      Reply
  3. Alex Alleyne August 30, 2015 at 7:56 am

    CELL PHONE TAX is the only reason .

    Reply
  4. Kevin August 30, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I’m a regular listener to the Call-in programs. I remember so much parents calling in to say that they give or would love to give their child a basic cell phone just to make and receive calls if something happens. So their is support for cell phones and in the same breath some folks support the ban.

    Reply
  5. Dave August 31, 2015 at 9:53 am

    A basic phone cannot access the internet, my friend. Unfortunately we are looking mainly to the positive, but there are more negatives. What happens before and after school. These people are just not thinking. In any case,the schools already have computers and a dedicated IT program in place.

    Reply
  6. Charles Worrell September 2, 2015 at 11:17 am

    WHY IS IT that as soon as there is possible confrontation, we claim technological advance flexibility?
    THIS MINISTER KNOWS VERY WELL, and indeed the ‘outside’ world what cell phones have come to mean in the hands of most young adults. These things are being used to watch PORN, MUSIC VIDEOS OF THE UGLIEST KIND; selfies that are far from intellectual attainment other than physiological digestion; texting back and forth ALL DAY WHILE LEARNING SHOULD BE GOING ON; taking photos of certain behaviour we well remember as two young people sought to find sexual fulfilment during class and much more could be noted here.
    THE schools have ITS and so, the MINISTER AND OTHERS, too scared to take a PRINCIPLE POSITION NEED TO STOP.
    SCHOOL IS FOR LEARNING IN PREPARATION FOR THE WORLD AND JOBS AND SUPPORT OF FAMILY…LET THESE PEOPLE WAIT A FEW MORE HOURS TO DO WHAT THEIR PARENTS ARE ALLOWING BUT DO NOT BRING DOWN THE LAST INSTITUTION WITH THIS NONSENSE MR. MINISTER.
    GO TO CHURCH and WATCH the young people TEXTING RIGHT THROUGH THE CHURCH SERVICE.
    PERMIT one last observation: in recent years we have made the world responsible for all we do; what we have not shared is the FACT that many of these things are tearing the AMERICAS AND OTHERS APART…somehow Barbados will get ‘special treatment”. THIS IS A LIE AND THE MANY PERPETRATORS KNOW IT; IT DOESN’T WORK THERE AND IT IS NOT GOING TO WORK HERE BUT WILL DEVASTATE US MORE..LOOK AT THE war zones our schools have become? HOW MUCH BETTER BEHAVE OUR CHILDREN HAVE BECOME WITH THEIR NEW
    POWER?
    PEOPLE IN AUTHORITY NEED TO RECALL THE COUNTRY THEY BECAME SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE OF; THEY NEED TO RECALL THE VALUES THAT HELPED; THE VILLAGE that BACKED up PARENTS along with uncles and aunts and persons that were just bigger than you. STOP ALLOWING EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING TO BE OKAY IN AND FOR BARBADOS, YOU ARE AN ENEMY OF OUR FUTURE EXISTENCE.

    Reply

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