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Netherlands announces Phone ban in schools

The Dutch government has announced that electronic devices, including mobile phones, are set to be banned from use in classrooms to prevent them from disrupting learning.

This initiative is being introduced in collaboration with schools, and it will take effect early next year.

There will be some exceptions, which will include students with medical needs or a disability, and for classes focused on digital skills.

Currently, the ban is not legally enforceable but might become so in the future.

According to the Education Minister, Robbert Dijkgraaf; “Even though mobile phones are almost intertwined with our lives, they do not belong in the classroom,”

“Students must be able to concentrate there and be given every opportunity to learn well. We know from scientific research that mobile phones disrupt this.”

Various studies have shown that limiting children’s screen time is linked to improved cognition and concentration.

Other tech gadgets, including tablets and smartwatches, are also included in the Dutch ban.

The government said it would be up to individual schools to agree on the exact rules with teachers, parents, and pupils – including if they want to completely ban devices from schools.

The scheme is the result of an agreement between the ministry, schools, and related organisations.

It will be reviewed at the end of the 2024–2025 school year to confirm how well it has worked and whether a legal ban is needed or not.

The announcement follows a similar decision by Finland last week. Its government announced it would review the law to make it easier to restrict the use of phones in schools.

Other countries, including England and France, have also proposed banning mobile phones to improve learning.

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