The beginning of September marked the launch of a new nationwide law in France banning students under age 15 from using cellphones during the school day, Business Insider reports.
The law is an extension of the original ban instituted in 2010, which prohibited the use of cellphones during school hours. The ban, which officially took effect on August 5, includes all types of smart devices, including cellphones, tablets, watches and more. It also prohibits the use of these devices during breaks and mealtimes; students with disabilities are exempt from the ban.
Students are allowed to have their devices with them at school, but they must be turned off and put in lockers during the day. Schools may also decide individually how they will handle the logistics of “how students will be kept away from their phones,” Business Insider says.
Schools that serve students over age 15 can decide whether or not they will implement the ban.
Business Insider reports that the ban was instituted among fears that “students were becoming too depend on and distracted by their smartphones,” and to “improve discipline among France’s 12 million schoolchildren.”
According to Jean-Michel Blanquer, the education minister of France, the legislation is appropriate for this century. “Being open to technologies of the future doesn’t mean we have to accept all their uses,” he said back in June.
Takeaways for decision makers
While the intent of France’s law is to boost studying and learning focuses in the classroom, it may not be getting through to the students affected by it. The Local, a news organization in France, says that “many pupils admit to breaking the rules” since the 2010 ban. Plus, some schools aren’t able to help enforce the law effectively; for example, The Local explains how some schools recommend that students keep cellphones in their lockers during the day, but don’t actually have lockers for students to use.
Additionally, many schools across the world are embracing smart devices as a part of their learning methods, and as an inevitable part of their culture. For example, three years ago, “New York Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted a ban on phones in his city’s schools on security grounds, saying parents should be allowed to stay in touch with their children,” The Local says. As a result, before following France’s footsteps, decision makers in school systems should consider evaluating the role smart devices play in schools; they might offer up more benefits than distractions in the long run.