News24

Call for ban on cellphones in schools

2012-05-04 09:53

Johannesburg - The National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) wants a ban on children using cellphones at South Africa's schools, Beeld newspaper reported on Friday.

According to the NASGB, this was crucial to allow pupils to focus on their work, and to "protect them against irregularities on social networks".

Matakanye Matakanye, NASGB secretary, told Beeld cellphones were a distraction that resulted in the disintegration of the teaching environment.

"The things children find on social networks are shocking. They pollute children's thoughts and prevent them from learning anything," he said.

It did not help to simply tell children that they could bring their phones to school but they were not allowed to switch them on, so governing bodies should "prioritise a revision of cellphone policy", Matakanye said.

Other school governing bodies said it would be impossible to enforce a ban on cellphones. Paul Colditz, head of the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas), said the onus was on teachers to ensure phones were not used for the wrong purpose.

Tim Gordon, CEO of the Governing Body Foundation, said it would be selfish to ban cellphones, as they were an important safety device that kept children and parents in touch.

- What do you think? Send us your thoughts.

Comments
  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-04 09:56

    That is a great idea please make it happen.

      Squeegee - 2012-05-04 09:59

      Provide lock-up facilities and let children check them in and out as they come to and leave school.

      Peter-Peter - 2012-05-04 10:17

      Im a little confused...i finished school in 2000. They were banned then. My brother has been going to school in this space of time....and he says, that they are still banned. So, what sought of school, has such loose rules that an argument is being made like this article? What schools are these? Who are they run by (the pupils or the teachers)? The government REALLY needs to up its game and grow an effing back bone! sought the unruliness out at a young age, and the mind will mold to the applied upbringing. Let the little ones grow up not knowing the difference between right and wrong, and they WILL do as they please! the education department seems to have done a complete 180 degree turn in the past couple of years...hasnt it?

      Charles Dumbwin - 2012-05-04 10:19

      But wait ... Ban the use of them in the classrooms and during assemblies etc. Not banning them outright because children should be contactable. With crimes against children as high as what it is in South Africa, I'd rather have my children have a cellphone on them, than not.

      VWhitepaw - 2012-05-04 11:35

      I would say... Ban them in class only... Or... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_jammer set on a timer.

      pieter.thefuture - 2012-05-04 12:15

      @vwhitepaw - I used to be a teacher and it is really not as easy as it sounds to have the teacher enforce cellphone policy without the backup of a sanctioned rule - parents say you are invading their children's rights. As for cellphone jamming, there are legal issues involved with interfering with cellphone signals. you can face a hefty fine and even jail time if you are found to have disrupted a signal. Believe me, we looked into that option while I was teaching.

      Sam - 2012-05-04 12:48

      @Peter-Peter: if the school you attended taught you your spelling skills, then the 180 degree turn around must have taken place a while before 'the past couple of years'. It's SORT, not SOUGHT. What SORT of school. SORT the unruliness out. Now go and write out your corrections!

      Leendert - 2012-05-04 13:01

      @charles dumbwin - But your children do NOT need to be contactable DURING school and once school is out they WILL have their phones back, surely?

      Peter-Peter - 2012-05-04 13:10

      lol, sam WE NEED TEACHERS LIKE YOU! hell! we would all be tighter than nuns! :) 'past couple of years' is a polite way of "since '94"

      VWhitepaw - 2012-05-04 14:45

      There is legal issues involved. But with enough warnings/signs around. ie, at the school entrance. Then they can't do anything as they knew. Just don't block the signal without warnings. Most of all, make sure it stay within the school grounds. That is probably the most difficult. Rather go for small units that the teachers uses with a limited range than a big setup to try and cover the whole school. Another big problem would be cost... http://www.spycatcheronline.co.za/4-band-jammer-w-remote.html

      VWhitepaw - 2012-05-04 15:31

      Point is... Why do they use their cellphones in class. It should be switched off when they enter a class. It should be packed away. If it rings... They get punished, maybe the whole class do a quick quiz. They would quickly presure they few to that do not listen to listen. I do not agree with banning cellphones at school, mostly because there is times they can use it and when it is a good tool. We are in the digital age.

  • Marion - 2012-05-04 10:01

    Why should the onus be on the teacher to ensure they are not used for the wrong purpose? Before cellphones none of us could 'keep in touch' with our parents and we survived. Ban the damned things in schools. And MP4s etc., School is a place of learning, not entertainment.

      Koos - 2012-05-04 10:15

      You forget Marion, in the time when there were no cell phones at schools there was discipline, order and trust. Today you can’t trust the pupils and you can’t trust the teachers, there is no discipline and order is something you use at some take away place. Today everyone has rights and rights replaced respect. On top of this, kids are getting attacked and raped in schools by other pupils and teachers. Today you find barbed wire, metal detectors and security guards at schools. The rules of yesteryear simply can’t apply to the situation of today.

      Kala - 2012-05-04 10:24

      It is sad Koos, that our schools today are more like prisons in the way the look and the unruly behaviour that comes from within their walls.

      Oneant - 2012-05-04 10:33

      What about Google. My daughter is 1st in school because of her Smartphone. I they ban smartphones I will remove her and home school her - at least in 8 years she'll have an education whilst the rest will barely be able to research a peanut.

      Marion - 2012-05-04 10:41

      @Koos - agree with you that there was discipline and about the only right we had was the right to be subjected to a bit of corporal punishment either by the principal or our parents. Still believe that cellphones should be banned. Only gave my son a cellphone at age 14 and even then it was with strict instructions it cannot go to school. (Don't see it here so think he may have taken it today, little s**t. I know he doesn't have airtime, we live a block away from the school and the school has contact numbers in case of emergency. He doesn't know it yet, but cellphone inspection coming up today!)

      Jacobus - 2012-05-04 11:32

      @Koos. I went to a school where barbed wire, police and sniffer dogs at the order of the day, school started at 7h00, summer and winter 07h10 an dwe had to wait outside the school yard for the dogs to finish first before we could go to school...and we had no phones and still made it good. The kids of today have to many toys that should not be/ in use on school property.

      Sam - 2012-05-04 12:51

      @Oneant: If you believe that it's a good thing that your daughter is '1st in school' because of Google and her Smartphone, then you really have no idea what education is supposed to be about. This is a scary concept.

      allison.steedman - 2012-05-04 13:59

      so basically Oneant is saying his daughter cheats her way through school - researches and uses copy paste? Or googles a question then puts her hand up with the answer? that is not education nor is it intelligent.

  • Smile - 2012-05-04 10:03

    "Other school governing bodies said it would be impossible to enforce a ban on cellphones." i AGREE! Fat chance they would be able to ban it!

      Kwajo.m - 2012-05-04 11:03

      Black lie. or should i say white lie.

      Kala - 2012-05-04 11:06

      Smile - Should you not be at school today?

      Smile - 2012-05-04 12:57

      KALA!!! NA I WAS EXPELLED YEARS AGO!!! ;) >>> I JUST KNOW KIDS :)

  • Compos - 2012-05-04 10:04

    "The things children find on social networks are shocking. They pollute children's thoughts and prevent them from learning anything," he said. To use this as a reason smacks of stupidity. While I am all for removing cellphones from the classroom give us a better reason than old style NP/ANC rhetoric. By banning something you only avoid the problem, you are not addressing the problem. Educate people then you will have a long-term solution.

  • Msika - 2012-05-04 10:05

    Tim Gordon, you are a Moron!!

  • Thoka - 2012-05-04 10:09

    Respect elders they past matric Matric without techno gadgets.

      Peter-Peter - 2012-05-04 10:36

      whats funny, is that the 'techno gadget junkies' of today, have these gadgets to help them learn...but yet they still need the pass rate dropped. pure laziness, perhaps?

      Thoka - 2012-05-04 10:54

      you are right Peter-Peter. its basically brilliant mathod of cheating because they use them to store formulas and answers. I quess future gadgets are going to write exam for them

  • Diamanda - 2012-05-04 10:10

    Fish Hoek Primary School in Cape Town has just implemented the ban. Just prior to this the cell was becoming a huge problem with our pre-teen. She became hyper-focused on her virtual social life and began to withdraw from the family. The phone also became socially divisive at school between those who had a high tech phone and the have-nots. In the long run what was originally intended as a functional device to keep her safe and make life easier for us was putting her at risk in so many ways. It's a difficult call, but I think the school did the correct thing.

  • wesleyrsuperman - 2012-05-04 10:11

    do it. let the kids use their other fingers for a change. my neice (14) has bbm and that's all she ever does, all day, all night. can't imagine how frustrating it is for a teacher who inevitably gets blamed for the childnfailing anyway.

      Marion - 2012-05-04 11:02

      14 with a BBM??? My son's first cellphone was a R100 jobbie (he was too embarrassed to take it to school). Think he was eternally grateful when some idiot nicked it.

  • Phindi - 2012-05-04 10:13

    Good.

  • lucia.ndaba - 2012-05-04 10:14

    This is a brilliant idea, I did a speech on it in Grade 10 back then! I see no point in having cellphones in School, If there's an urgent message it can still be sent via the school through the teachers.

      Charles Dumbwin - 2012-05-04 10:20

      There is at least one point. The comment I posted above reads: " Ban the use of them in the classrooms and during assemblies etc. Not banning them outright because children should be contactable. With crimes against children as high as what it is in South Africa, I'd rather have my children have a cellphone on them, than not. "

      Johann - 2012-05-04 10:33

      @Charles, That is idiotic. Between 8am and 2pm your child is in the care of the school. If something happens to your child (I have two in primary school) during that time, they should suck it up. Forgot your book at home - you forgot it, now explain it to your teacher. My kids have gotten ill twice while at school and the teacher immediately phoned me from the office and asked if I can come fetch my child. Why do the child need a cellphone at school? You should be studying, playing and running - and occasionally, get in trouble for doing something wrong - be a child, there's enough time to be an adult.

      Msika - 2012-05-04 11:49

      @Charles Dumbwin, that's a Dumb comment, during school hours your child should be under the care of the school which they attend, if you want to communicate with them, that can be done through the school, if you feel like they are not safe at the school they go to, move them to a safer school. Cellphones are a huge distraction in a work place setting where there's bunch of grown up poeple, imagine how distructive they can be at a school where there's a bunch of school kids. If we allow this, it will be like putting more weight to the poor teacher's shoulders.

  • alwyn.viljoen - 2012-05-04 10:18

    You get cellphone jammers with a limited range. Install these where the classrooms are located. If the child has an emergency he/she can contact the parents outside the classroom. The old intercom system can be used if parents need to contact their children.

      Shirley - 2012-05-04 10:45

      Why spend money when a simple no should be sufficient?

      alwyn.viljoen - 2012-05-04 11:15

      Because kids will find a way of getting a cellphone in. Hand in an old cellphone while keeping your actual one hidden, a signal jammer will be harder to get around. This way they can keep possession of a possibly expensive item without it being a distraction. Although they will still be able to play the games already installed...

  • Pule - 2012-05-04 10:18

    These news were published 2 weeks ago in SABC,but news24 just publish them today.

      Pule - 2012-05-04 10:59

      News24 you give me thumb down because you know I'm talking the truth,I heard these news 2 weeks back.hahahahahahahahahahaha Old news

  • Shirley - 2012-05-04 10:19

    This should of happened a long time ago. The easiest solution is that upon entering a class,phones are to be switched off and placed in a locked draw/cupboard and can be retrieved when leaving class. Pupils failing to do so should be dealt with accordingly. It will be tough in the first few months but like all other school rules-comply or suspension.

      Koos - 2012-05-04 10:29

      Honestly I’m glad I’m not at school today. Back in the day if you screwed up you got your 6 and you knew where you stood. There was respect and there was order and strangely enough some sort of bond. No wonder the kids today don’t know what to do or what is expected of them. Too many rules and too many empty threats and to soft a white glove. No one is pointing them in the right direction and honestly, there is no point in pointing them in a direction if they are not looking.

      Shirley - 2012-05-04 10:44

      Koos: couldnt agree more! Its easy-NO is NO. Leave your phone at front of class till end of lesson,finished and klaar!Todya there is no discipline,when teachers attempt it,they are either sued or fired! That is why there are so many undisciplined youth straight out of shool. No sense of order,responsiblity or obedience!

  • Lynda - 2012-05-04 10:19

    About time......its a massive problem for teachers, kids texting, phones getting stolen, cheating, videos taken of teachers they don't like, can't believe its taken so long to call for a ban!

  • Werner - 2012-05-04 10:20

    Could schools not make use of signal jamming technology during school hours, thereby preventing cell phones from making/receiving calls, browsing the internet, etc.?

  • Marion - 2012-05-04 10:22

    Many, if not most, cellphone users suffer from nomophobia.

      Kala - 2012-05-04 11:11

      Nice one Marion - I had to google it. Thanks for the new word:)

  • Martin - 2012-05-04 10:22

    the way kids are in public now, head down, constantly on facebook, whats app etc, during dinner, movies, walking driving, does not stop when they enter the school premisis, they still sit on those social media platforms,

      Marion - 2012-05-04 10:42

      Nomophobia.

  • Gieljam - 2012-05-04 10:24

    Ya and also all condoms Not just in schools at the workplace as well ....

  • Selma - 2012-05-04 10:24

    Bad idea - abusive teachers, principals, bullies have been caught thanks to cellphones.

  • adrian.marais - 2012-05-04 10:25

    Just google it!

  • Samantha - 2012-05-04 10:25

    I thought cell phones were banned already?- the school my son goes to does not allow phones at school- I dont see why the kids need the phones anyway- we didnt!- if there is something very urgent, then it can go thro the teacher to call the parent- kids need to focus on schoolwork

  • Rob - 2012-05-04 10:26

    It seems that opportunities to instill discipline and/or respect are avoided in favour of liberalisation. Phones are very valuable for personal security. SO, keep the phones BUT switch them off during learning periods. What is so difficult?....maybe enforcing that takes a show of resolve, respect and discipline on the part of the teacher....maybe that is where the problem lies? And if the pupil refuses, then confiscate the phone for the duration of the class....but most of all use the RULES to teach discipline and respect!

      Marion - 2012-05-04 10:45

      @criticallyhonest - not so sure about the personal security of kids with cellphones. The same day my young nephew had his cellphone 'hijacked' by a scissor-wielding guy a young girl was murdered for her cellphone.

      Rob - 2012-05-04 12:25

      Marion: Good point! Maybe it is time for a call centre lapel panic button system such as used by home care agencies in the UK. Or is this already available in SA...I know that the fixed home panic buttons are offered by ADT etc.

      Marion - 2012-05-04 12:55

      @criticallyhonest - that sounds like a great idea. One with a GPS that will indicate exactly where the victim is in any situation. I've got a panic button on my cellphone but that sort of thing is only good for home use.

  • johncarlos.biza - 2012-05-04 10:28

    Get them phones without an internet connection...just a basic brick for a alarm an emergency/family calls.

      Martin - 2012-05-04 10:55

      yeah i see pep and those stores still sell old 5110 phones, just gotta shop around, they dirt cheap in some instances

      Marion - 2012-05-04 11:07

      Agree with you John & Martin (even though my son now has a R600 phone with a video / internet connection since his basic phone was nicked). Think one of the main problems is that people with contract phones pass their fancy phones down to their kids when they get a new one.

  • ndyeboreginaldmazawule - 2012-05-04 10:28

    No it won't work it's impossible. Students can do their work nd cellphones help them to contact their parents nd visa versa. Schools just need a cellphone internet blockage system (if thy cn) like in othr fuculties in some universities.

      Marion - 2012-05-04 10:46

      ... and videos and games and texting ...

      John - 2012-05-04 10:55

      NO @ndyeboreginaldmazawule! There is absolutely NO reason why any child should have a cell phone at school! If there is a problem or emergency for the child or parent then it is the schools responsibility to phone the parent and advise or vice versa. That’s why we pay school fees and have close relationships with the teachers and other parents in our children’s classes or school. Catch a wakeup man!

      ndyeboreginaldmazawule - 2012-05-04 15:27

      No man John that we'v tried at my sistr's school nd at my school as well. Who's gona guide th kid's whn leavng? Yeah th school officials whtevr bt no man John.

  • Remona - 2012-05-04 10:31

    Ek kan nie toelaat dat my seuntjie sy foon by huis los nie... Hy loop alleen huistoe in die middae en ek bel hom na skool en terwyl hy loop sodat ek weet hy is veilig. Die onderwysers kan liewer dat die kinders hul fone inhandig aan die begin van die dag, en weer terug gee as skool uitkom. My seuntjie is my alles en so is sy veiligheid.

      John - 2012-05-04 11:00

      Nee -Remona. Daar is GEEN rede dat jou seuntjie sy foon by hom moet he nie. Se my bietjie, hoe gaan die foon jou seuntjie help as daar iets met hom gebeur terwyl hy huis toe loop en jy kan hom nie kontak nie?? Laat hy die foon by die huis los en as hy veilig by die huis is kan hy jou laat weet. En hoe gaan jy seker maak hy kyk nie na porn of eenige ander meteriaal op sy foon wanner hy aleen in die middae by die huis is nie? Mense moet bietjie begin dink!

      Samantha - 2012-05-04 11:21

      The thing is, many kids are assaulted for their phones -

  • Maama - 2012-05-04 10:31

    100% right if u look at African countries south African kids are the UN-rulable bse of the law and too much love from the parents at one stage i had a teacher cant punish a scholar like caning him if u can change we will have one one of the best kids in e world.Another issue please whoever is concerned try to concerned the schoolkids wear likes boys he puts a sweater inside,a jacket on top then he raises the collars that's rude,and those funny boring hair styles.

  • Loyiso - 2012-05-04 10:39

    Good move!they cant focus during lessons coz of social network,come the end of the year they blame it on teachers!!!!

  • Mtshezi Yonk'insipho Iyawasha Mkhize - 2012-05-04 10:39

    This is a step in the right direction in my Matric year in 2004 we had a network jamming technology on School Premises, but this was later removed as parents felt that they wanted to communicate with their kids during break time, N yes it's the White Parents who initiated that this be moved whn in the first place they were the ones who suggested it.... The former masters had spoken n the Governing Body which mainly comprised of Whites succumbed. *Surprised tht a lot of the former Masters in ds Forum are in favour* ppl are different n unique no matter their skin colour... That's a lesson for all u members here....Especially the ones tht fail to realize ds simple fact, Not all Whites are Evil, n not all Blacks are corrupt!!!!

  • derek.scotney - 2012-05-04 10:40

    A simple solution to the problem is to only allow cellphones without internet access. You get safety problem without the social networking problem. Also, they are A LOT cheaper :)

      derek.scotney - 2012-05-04 11:03

      OK, I meant to say, you SOLVE the safety problem :)

      John - 2012-05-04 12:07

      So derek, how does it solve the problem of texting, games, music and movies in class or school? You didn't think hard about that one now did you? There is absolutely NO reason why any child should have a cell phone at school! If there is a problem or emergency for the child or parent then it is the schools responsibility to phone the parent and advise or vice versa. That’s why we pay school fees and have close relationships with the teachers and other parents in our children’s classes or school. Catch a wakeup man!

  • ditantane.kganakga - 2012-05-04 10:41

    is about time

  • Kelechi Ihunna - 2012-05-04 10:42

    This problem is everywhere in school sector. It can be controlled if there is a total control between students and class teacher and also school management. I am a teacher and I know what it is. Good cooperation can solve this problem

  • Joan - 2012-05-04 10:44

    Cellphones help our leaners to goggle for information when doing their tasks this days,especially our leaners,where their schools has no access to internet eg most public schools in rural areas.Parents and Educators must work together to make sure that learners use their cellphones for good purposes by educating them when and when not to use their cellphones.

  • luzukotosh - 2012-05-04 10:47

    Long overdue

  • Loo - 2012-05-04 10:47

    End of the day cell phones is part of life now. Whether we like it or not. Rather focus on how to manage the problem situations. If disallowed it will be smuggled in and create even more problems.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-04 10:49

    What did you all do before cell phones existed.

      Loo - 2012-05-04 10:57

      Same as what you did before power, fax machine, and compuetr... What's the point ??

      Ted - 2012-05-04 10:59

      We were learning. But the hard way. There were then words like 'bookworm'. Now I don't know whether there are now words like 'googworm'.

  • lawson.lutchman - 2012-05-04 10:54

    Hear hear... but then again we should simply ban education, because it is useless anyway.

  • peter.t.solomon - 2012-05-04 10:55

    How will our kids contact us when they are harassed by teachers and other bullying pupils?

      Marion - 2012-05-04 13:04

      They will tell you when they get home and you will go to the school the next day to solve the problem.

  • Kwajo.m - 2012-05-04 10:57

    I was once at school and I do not think schools need cellphone. I support the burning of those crazy devices. I miss those days.

  • Tanya - 2012-05-04 11:00

    It's a wonderful idea especially as kids are distracted through school during the course of the day. Most High Schools do allow cell phones. All they need is a famTRAC, whch is a Personal Panic Button with GPS Real-time Live 24/7 Tracking, that acts as a cellphone (allows 2-way voice communication) to only 3 pre-programmed numbers (i.e. parents / family cell numbers). It also allows the parents to track their children on their cell phones in the event of an emergency. There aren't any Social Network links, ensuring its technology is used for its intended purpose - safeguarding our children!

  • Jacky Mutsila - 2012-05-04 11:00

    the best idea ive heard dis morning...actually its bout tym

  • Anthony - 2012-05-04 11:04

    "Paul Colditz, head of the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas), said the onus was on teachers to ensure phones were not used for the wrong purpose." Isn't this a parental role? Too much for teachers to monitor, most cyber bullying and other incidents happen after school hours!!

  • Tanya - 2012-05-04 11:08

    It's a wonderful idea especially as kids are distracted through school during the course of the day. Most High Schools do allow cell phones. All they need is a famTRAC, which is a Personal Panic Button with GPS Real-time Live 24/7 Tracking, that acts as a cellphone (allows 2-way voice communication) to only 3 pre-programmed numbers (i.e. parents / family cell numbers). It also allows the parents to track their children on their cell phones in the event of an emergency. There aren't any Social Network links, ensuring its technology is used for its intended purpose - safeguarding our children! famTRAC are launching on 9th May www.famtrac.co.za

  • Paul Maema - 2012-05-04 11:16

    dont ban phone @school as more parents want 2 be updated about deir kids whereabouts. Parents must buy cheap phones without technology like bluetooth,wifi acceses nd internet, buy yr kids R100 phones from pep store so dey can recieve,call nd to send pls call me. banning phone wont help cos when kids arrive home after school dey still has access to deir high tech phones.

  • arthurpreston - 2012-05-04 11:17

    A call for a blanket ban on cellphones in schools is indicative of the kind of short-term, knee-jerk reaction that is so damaging to educational practice in our country. It would be a far better use of the NASGB's time to invest resources in training teachers to enhance the academic possibilities of cellphone use in the classroom. Of course there are practical considerations to consider but there is also the fact that there is a much higher penetration of internet-enabled phones in schools than computers. Surely we should be asking how teachers can utilise this medium for the betterment of education rather than simply banning it? Why do we want to take the tool our children are using to communicate, share and learn with and ban it in the very place we are trying to teach them to communicate, share and learn? Perhaps it is enlightment of those in the NASGB that is needed first before we heed their ill-informed advice.

  • Gavin - 2012-05-04 11:26

    Chuck the cellphone and send them for karate classes. Then they'll be fit, disciplined, and spend some time outdoors and be able to kick ass if needed.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-04 11:36

    Loo seems like you arnt able to answer a very simple question.

  • Matong - 2012-05-04 11:38

    This government is not doing research anymore it is just doing things by force.Where is the pledge of moral regeneration,copy from school in Bloem called Tsoseletso!

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-04 11:41

    Ay no some comments here are amuzing,daddy im being bullied,ok my boy im going to drop what im doing just because you were never taught to stand up for yourself.You lot should have been in the army.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-04 11:43

    Nice one Gavin there are too many spoilt brats out there nowonder this country is gone.

  • rikhoula.joy - 2012-05-04 11:49

    Yes great idea, Ban it, bcos u will find them chating on mxit while the class is on, or facebuking, they dont concentrate anymore