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Maharashtra Gov Thinking of Mobile Phone Ban in Schools and Colleges; Should they?

In India Online by Jayadevan P K

Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

Should mobile phones be banned in schools and colleges? The answer depends on who you are asking. It is usually NO, if you ask a student and YES if you as a parent or a teacher.

In a latest development reported by the press trust of India, the Maharashtra government has sought views of principals and teachers on banning mobile phones in colleges and university campuses to prevent “cyber crime.”

According to the PTI report:

The joint director of higher education had sought views of college heads and teachers on this proposal in a letter sent in May. The proposal also involves mandatory installation of jammers and decoders in campuses of educational institutions.

Apparently, the letter was sent after an NCP activist Ashok Lad made a presentation to Rajesh Tope, the minister for higher education.

It is naive to assume that school and college goers will stop carrying mobile phones if its banned. Enforcing the ban will be quite a task.
MMS scandals bear testimony to the fact that the worry about mobile phone cameras being used to click pictures or shoot obscene videos in schools and colleges is not quite unfounded. However, is such a ban the solution? We don’t know yet. But the debate is not only particular to Indian schools. News reports last year in Britain suggested that schools with a ban on mobile phones increased academic standards while reducing cyber bullying. On the other end, a view that supports mobile phones in classrooms for learning is emerging.

From Bihar to Bangalore, most schools in India already have a ban on mobile phones. However, colleges aren’t very particular about such rules. In 2009, the central board of secondary education (CBSE) banned mobile phones, termed as a ‘serious distraction’ in schools.

Shoot the messenger?

Such bans, if put in place, will have an impact on messaging applications queuing up to get more and more youngsters on to their platform. An advertisement of messaging app Line, for instance, portrays two groups in a classroom using the instant messenger to jibe at each other. Such applications are particularly popular among youngsters. WeChat, Line, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Hike and Plustxt are some that are frequently used.

Should phones be banned in schools and colleges? What are your thoughts?