Education

New Zealand to ban cell phones in schools to improve academic performance

Sydney, Australia, Dec 1 (EFE).- New Zealand’s new Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced Friday that he would ban the use of cell phones in schools to improve student performance, within the framework of measures he intends to implement in his first 100 days of government.

“We are going to ban phones across New Zealand in schools. We want our kids to learn and we want our teachers to teach,” Luxon said in remarks to reporters in Auckland, broadcast by public broadcaster Radio New Zealand.

The announced ban on mobile phones in schools, a measure partially or totally applied in countries such as Australia, Canada, China, France, the United Kingdom and several Asian countries, aims to help children and young people focus on their studies.

In justifying the announcement, Education Minister Erica Stanford said, alongside Luxon, that current indicators reveal that more than half of 15-year-olds do not meet basic literacy and numeracy standards in New Zealand.

Although banning cell phones in schools is one of the recommendations contained in a United Nations report published in July as a way to improve student performance and mitigate the impact of cyberbullying, the measure is not a consensus among experts.

A scientific study by the Swedish universities of Stockholm and Sodertorn published in 2020 shows that progress is minimal, while some educators said that the use of these devices can be useful when used sometimes in class.

In addition to banning cell phones, Luxon’s government intends to reform the school curriculum, which includes changes to the subjects of English and mathematics, imposing the teaching of one hour per day of reading, and writing and mathematics tracks in primary and secondary schools. starting next year.

New Zealand was ranked 11th, 12th and 27th, respectively, in reading, science and mathematics in the world ranking of the 2018 International Student Assessment carried out by the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development.

Luxon, whose National Party formed an alliance with liberal right-wing party ACT and the nationalist New Zealand First to govern, also faces the challenge of implementing some controversial agreements with one of its allies on guidelines on gender and sexuality. EFE

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