VicSRC Statement on the Mobile Phone Ban
VicSRC, the peak body for school-aged students in Victoria calls on the DET to consult with students on issues in the education system and work with young people as the experts on their own education to devise practical solutions.
The Government has recently announced a complete mobile phone ban in all Government Victorian Primary and Secondary schools, scheduled to take effect in 2020. But “there is no consensus from students on whether phones in class are a distraction that reduce learning outcomes but by removing them altogether can lead to missed learning opportunities for students,” said Nina Laitala, VicSRC Executive Officer. In addition, Bri, VicSRC Executive Committee Member and current rural student noted that “cyber-bullying, much like smartphones, does not just exist inside of schools. If schools aim to support students through difficult times, pretending it doesn't exist from 9am to3:30pm is not the answer.”
“A ban on mobile phones for all students at Victorian state primary and secondary schools takes agency away from students and schools on deciding how to utilise technology in the classroom,” according to Beth, VicSRC Executive Committee Member, current student. She went on to say that “the future is digital and smartphones will continue to play a significant role, so students, teachers and schools will need to learn how to deal with them sooner or later.” Bri concurred, noting “students will struggle to adapt to the changing world if we aren't allowed to utilise one of the most pivotal pieces of technology the world currently has. We need to stop pretending phones, and technological progress as a whole, is the enemy.”
Bri went on to note that “in schools in rural or disadvantaged areas, phones are often used in place of faulty technology and Wi-Fi. We need to directly address the inequity that we're facing or find a way to ensure this policy does not disproportionately affect students in schools with outdated technology.”
The Education State has made a commitment to student voice and empowerment. VicSRC is eager to work with the Victorian Government, schools and students to ensure student voice and advocacy is represented and respected throughout the implementation and review of this policy.
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