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TN bans use of cellphones in schools

The move follows complaints to the TN government that mobile phones have diverted the attention of schoolchildren, reports GC Shekhar.
Hindustan Times | By GC Shekhar, Chennai
UPDATED ON OCT 17, 2007 01:23 AM IST

The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday announced that schoolchildren will not be permitted to bring mobile phones to schools though it remains to be seen how effective the ban is.

“Mobile phones will be barred across all age groups in all the schools in the state. This step follows complaints to the government that mobile phones have diverted the attention of school children with many of them using them to send SMSes even during class hours,” state School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu said.

The director of school education has been asked to instruct the school authorities accordingly. A formal government order indicating the date from when the ban comes into effect will be introduced later. Karnataka had announced its intent to ban mobile phones in schools last month but before the order could be enforced, the Kumaraswamy government collapsed.

Reacting to the verdict, principal of a CBSE school said, “Even parents are unwilling to accept such a ban as they argue that the phones help them to stay in touch with the kids.”

So far, no instances of mobiles being used for malpractices in exams at the school level have come to the notice of the authorities. But students sending text messages during class hours, has been pinned down as the most serious digression by educationists.

Another negative spin off has been peer pressure the gadget exerts on students wanting to keep up with the latest offering in mobile telephony. In one case, a 9th standard boy was murdered by two of his friends in a kidnap drama in Chennai as they wanted to buy a mobile phone with the money.

Students, however, point out that it is impossible for school authorities to check for phones regularly. “Everyone in my class has a mobile phone. The principal knows, our teachers know and only when someone is caught using it during class hours the phone gets confiscated,” said Anand Venkatesh, Class 11 student in a leading CBSE school.

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