UNESCO advocates banning smartphones in schools

New Delhi –The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in its global education monitoring report (GEM) 2023, recommended that all schools worldwide ban the use of smartphones. This is to tackle classroom disruption and protect children from cyberbullying.

“Not all change constitutes progress. Just because something can be done does not mean it should be done,” it concluded. With more learning moving online, especially in universities, it urged policymakers not to neglect the “social dimension” of education where students receive face-to-face teaching. “Those urging increasing individualisation may be missing the point of what education is about,” it said.

There was evidence that excessive mobile phone use was linked to reduced educational performance and that high levels of screen time had a negative effect on children’s emotional stability.

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay said, “Its use must be for enhanced learning experiences and for the wellbeing of students and teachers, not to their detriment. Keep the needs of the learner first and support teachers. Online connections are no substitute for human interaction.”

It cited China, which it said has set boundaries for the use of digital devices as teaching tools, limiting them to 30% of all teaching time, with students expected to take regular screen breaks.

Editorial Viewpoint

Considering the adverse effects of smartphones on children, it is important for parents to take this very seriously and protect their kids.