Cell phone ban was a ‘mistake’, says Jones

Minister of Education Ronald Jones says his 2009 decision to ban cell phones in schools was a “mistake”.

“In Barbados, sometimes out of fear, we are caught up in discussions over whether we should have mobile phones in schools, and I admit banning the use of technology was a mistake I made.

“In all honesty, the envelope is being pushed open more than in the past, and if our students are to learn effectively, it is important that they are connected not only to the knowledge flow emanating from the teacher in the classroom, but that they get exposed to information from across the world,” he told the launch of the Caribbean Examinations Council’s CXC Connect new mobile app at Sky Mall Wednesday afternoon, adding that he would have more to say on the matter in a few weeks time.

While likening some aspects of the worldwide web to “the Wild West”, the Minister of Education said these elements could be tamed and put to more positive use. He commended CXC for the “dizzying pace” at which it was embracing information and communications technology.

Just two months ago, the President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman stepped up her warning to the Jones-led ministry not to allow cell phones in schools, saying these devices will only exacerbate the problem of gang activity and pose a major security threat to schools.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY amid concerns about violence in schools, Redman said a troubling trend had emerged where students affiliated with gangs from various communities used their mobile devices to call for backup whenever there was conflict with other students.

“If there is a quarrel during the day in the school you have some students who are affiliated with gangs and I have gotten this report that the student would use the cell phone to call for support and assistance. So by the time school ends, either just outside of the school gates or in the environs of the school there is a mob to assist the member who felt that in some way he or she was being ‘unfaired’. By the end of day you have a group outside to beat up somebody,” she explained at the time.

However, Jones who had announced as far back as 2015 that he was open to lifting the ban on cell phones, as they were learning instruments, added Wednesday that “you have to stay current and in step with the times”.

Keynote speaker Gabriel Abed of BITT Inc. also applauded CXC for taking “a step in the right direction towards efficiencies, serving your customer better, reducing the cost of operations, ensuring customers are informed and ensuring students are receiving advice based on data from multiple sources”.

“I want to see Government embracing technology and looking at how we can reduce the human inefficiencies of having to stand in line or go through cumbersome processes to access information,” he added.

Jones admitted that Government was indeed moving in that direction, but said there was still some fear on the part of stakeholders who “feel they will have to take their hands off, but in truth, the hands and technology have to become one”.

He made reference to passport applications, which were now done online and delivered to the customer’s door, but pointed out that immigration officers would still be required to stamp them at the island’s ports of entry.

Source: (DH)

11 Responses to Cell phone ban was a ‘mistake’, says Jones

  1. E Jerome Davis
    E Jerome Davis July 28, 2017 at 4:29 am

    Yes, and you as Minister of Education was also a mistake.

  2. BaJan boy July 28, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Your birth and your election to parliament were also two unmentioned mistakes.

  3. Lornabradshaw Bradshaw
    Lornabradshaw Bradshaw July 28, 2017 at 6:15 am

    A real mad man doa

  4. Jea Alleyne July 28, 2017 at 8:09 am

    🙂 The joke is the businesses here use technology so things can move faster for them but when it comes to the citizens they want you up and down the island, picking up a form here or running around to different buildings to do this and do that…….Barbados is moving soo slow, like not moving at all, when other countries rely on technology and smaller companies now use watsapp to convey information……plod, plod, plod

    Im not sure that cellphones is school is such a good idea, maybe you may need to invest in more computers for the children as you have to consider Redman’s comments.

  5. Roger Headley July 28, 2017 at 8:44 am


  6. Milli Watt July 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    clown……..want to support the present administration with this situation concerning the unions and private sector but my word listening to this…….just don’t know

  7. Avonda July 28, 2017 at 12:21 pm


    Children are already allowed the use of tablets, ipads and laptops. Why do they now need cellphones too?

    There are workplaces where cellphones are not allowed. Furthermore, cellphones are not allowed in court rooms or even the embassy.

    • Bajan July 28, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      One cell phone does all of the above. The world has progressed in the daily application of technology in our lives. We must keep up or get left behind.

  8. Bajan July 28, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Banning drums, all musical instruments and music at School Sports in BIM is another BIG MISTAKE. Every athletic meet I have been to in the Caribbean the spectators bring their musical instruments. The Bahamians, Bermudians and Trinidadians are known for this. They blow trumpets, conch shells, beat drums, skillets, buckets, chant team songs, dance and sing soca. Guess what, the athletes enjoy and perform in all the festivities because they know that the celebrations are all about them as young up coming stars. BRING back the rhythms to our school sports. It’s more than running, it’s a festival of our youth!

  9. fedup July 28, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Dem make mistakes FIRST and then try to correct; but dis time too late too late shall be your cry. Leff it cos um gine get fix next year when wunna gone long bout wunna bidness.lololo

  10. kulwant singh August 2, 2017 at 6:18 am

    I think girls should be allowed to use mobile in the schools but boys do not.Reason is apparent as mobile provide them security in the distress.


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