No doubt about it - phones are distractive , Source: Depositphotos

Will Finland ban smartphones in schools?

Will Finland ban smartphones in schools?

The new government can certainly feel confident in taking this step since it relies on a citizen’s initiative launched in April

Finland is the home of one of the most iconic phone brands of the near past. Nokia's success early on created one of the most mobile phone-friendly societies in the world, where owning such a device was seen almost as national pride. And now, that same country seems poised to reverse the trend by banning the use of smartphones in schools, among other contexts.

Euractiv reported that the new right-wing government, led by Petteri Orpo, has decided to reform the education system in the Nordic country in order to boost back its exemplary successes in the near past. And part of this will be achieved by having students turn their phones off once they enter the school premises so that they can focus on learning.

Curbing the screen addiction

Back in 2006, Finnish students were among the best in the world in maths, science and reading, but since then their scores have lowered, and the authorities think that this has something to do with the proliferation of smartphones in the classroom.

And it’s not just the authorities who are of this opinion. At the end of March, citizens launched an initiative to call for the prohibition of phones in schools, and it reportedly amassed more than 30,000 signatures.

Yesterday, the government announced that it will increase the powers of principals and teachers to stop activities that disrupt the teaching process.

We will make the necessary legislative amendments to enable more efficient restrictions in cases such as the use of mobile devices during the school day so that pupils and students can better concentrate on teaching,” said the statement.

The details of the eventual phone ban, however, are still not clear and this will be the work of legislators to define. The new government is also promising a 200-million-euro funding grant for basic education to ensure students acquire the basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics.



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