Ontario to ban cellphones from classrooms during instructional time

Ontario to ban cellphones from classrooms during instructional time

Starting this fall, Ontario students won't be able to bring their cellphones to class unless teachers are using them for educational reasons.

"Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning - not their cellphones", Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement.

Education consultation surveys from previous year suggested that approximately 97 percent of respondents supported some form of restriction on phones in class, according to the government sources. During this consultation we heard that 97% of respondents support some form of a ban on cellphones.

The Tory government conducted education consultations previous year, and while input on the sex-education curriculum dominated headlines, feedback was also gathered on a potential classroom cellphone ban.

Whether or not cell phones are allowed in class is up to individual schools, according to English School Board policy in this province.

"I think that this (announcement) has everything to do with a government that's trying to distract from the really serious and considerable concerns of families and education workers", she said.

"Our government will be introducing a ban on cellphones in the classroom".

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The Green Party of Ontario issued a statement calling the ban "bumper sticker" politics and accused the Doug Ford government of trying to turn public attention away from the controversy around its handling of the autism services file.

"Beginning next school year, cellphones will no longer be allowed in the classroom unless they are required for educational purposes, health and medical purposes, or to support special needs". "Instead of empowering schools to create reasonable cellphone use policies, Ford is promising a provincewide ban that is impossible to enforce".

A study conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science concluded that "student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases" with a ban on cellphones.

According to the study's findings, "this suggests that restricting mobile phone use can be a low-priced policy to reduce educational inequalities".

"Minister Eggen trusts Alberta's teachers and school boards to make their own rules regarding the use of cellphones in their classrooms", he said Tuesday.

"Teachers see the value of technology as an enhancement to learning and they are using it pretty powerfully, but we also see teachers and principals making judgments where to pull back", he said. "It was the closest thing we got in our consultation to unanimity", one source commented to The Canadian Press.

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