Handphones in School? Don't Be Ridiculous!

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, August 7, 2012 8 comments
After I read THIS REPORT, I felt compelled to write this post and had to skip my TRX class at the gym.

According to The Star:


The Education Ministry is still discussing whether to allow students to take hand phones to school. 
Deputy Education minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said the ministry has not finalised the matter and was still in the evaluation stage.
“Many things need to be scrutinized before any decision is taken, including the views of the students. To date, many views have been received. In fact, I myself received a letter from a 10-year-old student who disagreed with the proposal.
“It is surprising when a standard four pupil himself offers such a view and state why he disagrees. So, there will be an in-depth study before a decision is made,” he told reporters at a cheque handing ceremony to Negeri Sembilan government-aided schools at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Chung Hua, Tuesday.

What is there to discuss? I cannot believe what I read.

1. Still discussing?
2. Matter not finalised?
3. Evaluation stage?

For heaven's sake, don't they have better things to do such as:

  • raising the standard of English in the education system 
  • making sure our students can compete internationally 
  • improving facilities in schools
  • improving the scope of the syllabus of core subjects
  • improving the marking scheme of public examinations etc etc

Even if mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives, it does not mean that schools should bend backwards and follow trends at the expense of the quality of education being imparted to students.

Let's consider the cons of allowing students to carry hand phones to school.

Such a move could enable/allow students to:

  • cheat by sending/receiving text messages with the answers
  • create havoc via false or seemingly harmless text messages such as "There will be early dismissal today due to an emergency staff meeting" or even bomb threats
  • make or receive phone calls during class for any reason but family emergencies
  • be distracted and have difficulty in following the lessons
  • violate people's privacy by taking pictures of their teachers/other students without permission and then posting them online after these have been photo-shopped.
  • influence others to view unsavoury/pornographic websites, use websites to do their homework if their phone is a smart phone and if they have their own data package to surf. They can also partake in unhealthy habits such as betting/gambling or gaming etc
  • be at risk to threats/attacks from gangsters/undesirable elements e.g. if they are threatened or extorted because they were using fancy hand phones as the high end mobile phone models would be an indication of the students' financial background
  • have disagreements/fights over hand phones out of jealousy or misunderstanding
  • have difficulty in being disciplined as the hand phones rightly belong to students
  • be at risk for more thefts could occur
  • burden families as children are likely to keep up with the latest models of hand phone and/or even rake up a hefty phone/data bill.
  • be easily distracted in class, learn less, have difficulty in paying attention to teachers and disrupt the concentration of those who want to learn
  • have less respect for others around them
  • be deprived of social graces and communication opportunities to develop themselves to become well-adjusted individuals if they persist in playing with their hand phones instead of paying attention in class, responding to their friends in social situations 
  • organize criminal behaviour
  •  be exposed to the disorders and dysfunctions caused by the cell phones including medical problems from over-usage of mobile phones such as loss of hearing, brain problems and many more related problems.
Of course it is only natural that parents who could be worried for the safety and security of their children e.g. in an emergency but there is always the alternative - public phones or the school office phones. Surely the school administration would allow students to use the school's telephone in the event that public phones in the school are out of order. Some teachers could also allow students to use their mobile phones during emergency situations.

If the public phones are out of order and the calls are urgent, no administrator or teacher will prevent a child from using the school’s phone.

Of course there could be situations where students really need a hand phone especially if the student or a family member is very ill, needs medication or advice or has mental problems and needs to contact their loved ones as soon as possible. I am sure in such situations, there could be exceptions to the rule.

Hence, I strongly feel that the whole issue is a non-starter. Is there a necessity to consider the the views of the students? Surely as an Education Ministry, they should know what is best for students and not the other way round. If a ten year-old can object to the proposal, does it not show how ridiculous it is to take such a long time via a tedious bureaucratic process to make a simple decision to disallow the usage of mobile phones?

Another point to consider is that most schools already DISALLOW students to even BRING their hand phones to school. If the Ministry decides to allow students to do otherwise, is it not tantamount to declaring that previous school policies are wrong? I really do not see the logic of the matter at all.

Hence, all they need is to go through very simple decision making process that requires maybe an hour's meeting the most instead of going round the mulberry bush and giving all kinds of ludicrous reasoning.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO PRODUCED BY A STUDENT on why handphones should not be allowed in schools.

8 comments to Handphones in School? Don't Be Ridiculous!

  1. says:

    adie The country has really gone to the 'dogs'... :(

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear adie

    Tragically, your observation is so true.

    :-(

    Sighs

  1. says:

    Bunny There are reasons for and against. You do yourself a great disfavour by only listing the cons. There are some pretty good reasons too for the students to carry cellphones.

    Open your eyes ..... and your mind.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Bunny

    I am not sure if you read the whole post.

    I listed the pros in paragraph form and wish to highlight it for your consideration as follows in case you missed it:

    Of course it is only natural that parents who could be worried for the safety and security of their children e.g. in an emergency but there is always the alternative - public phones or the school office phones. Surely the school administration would allow students to use the school's telephone in the event that public phones in the school are out of order. Some teachers could also allow students to use their mobile phones during emergency situations.

    If the public phones are out of order and the calls are urgent, no administrator or teacher will prevent a child from using the school’s phone.

    Of course there could be situations where students really need a hand phone especially if the student or a family member is very ill, needs medication or advice or has mental problems and needs to contact their loved ones as soon as possible. I am sure in such situations, there could be exceptions to the rule.


    Sorry. Having been in the education sector for about 25 years, I know what happens in the classroom and my views are that of an educator, not a citizen.

    Of course I am well aware that smartphones can help students to access material but given the length and breadth of controversies and problems that could arise from such a misguided move, I am strongly against allowing students to carry handphones to school.

    This excludes college students.

    Take care and thank you for your honest opinion which I respect and we can agree to disagree :-). I am always open to diverse views and believe a blog provides a platform for discussion.

    No one is alike in any way, not even twins and I do not expect everyone to agree with me.

    Take care and it is lovely to hear from you again. Keep in touch.


    Best wishes

  1. says:

    Grace Beck I would say just the same.... "Don't be ridiculous"
    Soon almost every student will start showing off who has got the better hand phone. What a culture it would be amongst our young...

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith I agree with you, Grace. Society today has an over-emphasis on material goods and values are slowly being eroded in the rat race. The authorities must get real with this policy. Take care and thank you for sharing your views. God bless!

  1. says:

    cin2tan GOD-blessings : i have retired 12 years ago ....or mati lah !!

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear cin2tan

    I left full-time employment in 1995 at the peak of my career because my older boy started his primary school education.

    Looking back, I have been blessed with very good students from 1988. Teaching is a different ball game altogether these days which is why I will not have more than two hours of classes a week.

    Take care and treasure the memories.

    God bless!

    Cheers

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