Minister flags mobile phone ban for schools
Mobile phones could be banned from classrooms if Federal Eduction Minister Dan Tehan gets his way.
“If mobile phones are distracting students in the classroom, then teachers should be empowered to conduct a class without them,” Mr Tehan says in a speech to be delivered today.
WA schools make their own policies on mobile phones in class. Many have restrictions on phones in school hours.
Mr Tehan urges common sense on a range of issues to produce better students’ results and attendance rates. “We must look at improving every aspect of our education system,” he says.
He aims to develop a national declaration on educational goals.
‘If mobile phones are distracting students . . . then teachers should be empowered to conduct a class without them.’ Education Minister Dan Tehan
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has flagged whether mobile phones should be banned from classrooms as part of a national push to improve students’ results.
In a speech to be delivered at an education conference today, Mr Tehan will urge educators to “rediscover some common sense” on schooling issues, including mobile phone use.
“If mobile phones are distracting students in the classroom, then teachers should be empowered to conduct a class without them,” he will say.
“There is a time and place for technology in education and surely we can all agree on that.”
In WA, each school sets its own mobile phones policy, with many restricting use during school hours.
Mr Tehan’s speech, to be delivered at the Australian National University’s conference on preparing young people for education beyond Year 12, also urges a commonsense focus on increasing school attendance rates and giving student teachers more time in the classroom as part of their training.
And he will urge universities to enforce prerequisite Year 12 subjects, such as maths, for certain degree courses.
“Universities must be leaders and clearly communicate to school students the reality of university degrees,” Mr Tehan says. “For example, to be a successful engineer you need to have studied mathematics.”
He will tell the conference that he will seek agreement from State and Territory education ministers this week to update the 2008 Melbourne declaration on educational goals for Australian children.
Mr Tehan will also call for input from parents, teachers and students to develop a new declaration as a “document for the whole nation”. “We must look at improving every aspect of our education system,” he says.
Mr Tehan commends a NSW decision to introduce a charter for State schools reinforcing the importance of communication and respect and says it is worthy of examination by other States.
Under the charter, parents are expected to show respect when talking to teachers and to use email and social media appropriately, while schools are expected to provide timely and clear communication.
“I don’t expect that you can simply cut and paste the NSW School Community Charter into Victoria or WA,” he says.
“But it’s worth asking the question — can we provide the framework and the tools for schools and school systems to develop their own school charters that share universal aspirations while acknowledging local, unique circumstances?”
Mr Tehan acknowledges teachers’ complaints that the curriculum is overcrowded and says he will ask COAG’s education council to consider if it needs to be reviewed.