Citing that mobile phones are a “serious cause of distraction, lack of concentration, anxiety, fear and sometimes misuse”, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular to its affiliated schools advising their usage to be restricted.
Though several schools have welcomed the advisory, many parents and students are questioning their restriction.
“A restriction on cell phones is necessary as there have been several cases of cell phone misuse in the past,” said Joseph Emmanuel, deputy secretary, CBSE.
He said principal, teachers and other staff should discourage use of cell phones by not being seen using them in school.
“In case of need, there can be a centralised system for receiving and making calls for teachers and students,” he said.
Some schools already have restricted use of cell phones.
“Students get distracted when they use mobile phones during classes to message or play games. Also, some cell phones are quite expensive and students have a tendency to lose them,” said Jyoti Bose, principal, Springdales, Dhaula Kuan.
“We do not allow cell phones, unless it is absolutely necessary. Those students who need to carry a cell phone must submit a letter from parents explaining why they need it,” she said. “We do not feel students need a mobile phone as they are free to use the school landlines.”
Many parents opposed the restriction on cell phones.
“My child was able to inform me of her asthma attack only because she had a cell phone,” said Vani Bhatia, mother of Akkriti Bhatia, a student of Modern School, Vasant Vihar, who died from an asthma attack in April.
Many students also said they felt the need for a cell phone. “Though cell phones are not allowed in our school, I continue to carry one,” said Akhil Pandey, a student of a school in Dwarka.
“Many a times, I have to speak to my parents regarding dental appointments or coaching classes. As it is quite difficult to get access to the school phones, I really cannot do without one,” he said.