A recent incident involving a video depicting students engaged in sexual activity was not enough to force the Ministry of Education to scrap or even rethink its policy on the use of cellphones on school premises.
The 2007 policy is simple: students are allowed to have cellphones at school once they are turned off and kept out of sight.
But that policy came under public scrutiny after the video that involved students of the All Saints Secondary School, went viral.
However, Director of Education Clare Browne said the issue has nothing to do with the cellphones but, instead, the students’ behaviour.
He told OBSERVER Media that squashing the policy was not necessarily the way to go; at least not at this time.
“We cannot say no cellphones, totally,” he stated.
According to Browne, cellphones perhaps present a window for some of the things that are happening at schools but “it doesn’t mean that some of the things happening won’t happen”.
He said that while the Ministry of Education is not in favour of students using phones to take “photos and videos” at school, the teachers want to be able to use technology to advance pedagogy.
According to Browne, the notion of banning cellphones in schools will cause more harm than good.
“Learning must be exciting and in this day and age you cannot reject the use of technology,” he said.
The problem, according to Browne, is in educating students on how to use the device for educational purposes even when they are away from the classroom.
He said that the ministry intends to put an interim plan in place to address the problem, which will include having supervised use of cellphones when necessary.
“There has to be restrictions,” he said, while agreeing that there will be some students who may fall through the cracks. “It doesn’t matter how much supervision you have in place, there will be one or two students that can beat the system,” he lamented.
The director of education said, however, there are some students who must be commended for using the devices for educational purposes.
“So, all is not lost,” he said.