Education minister Dennis Wiersma no longer completely excludes the possibility of a ban on the use of smartphones in the classroom. In November Wiersma, together with a majority of the House, opposed the proposal of the CDA and the PVV. That was up to the teachers themselves, he thought. But the minister hears signals that teachers are barely succeeding in keeping smartphones out of the classroom independently. He therefore wants to talk to schools, among others, and is open to a ban if there is a great need for it.
René Peters of the CDA argued in November for a ban and found Harm Beertema (PVV) on his side, who has wanted this for some time. Apart from this, Peters got few other parties enthusiastic. D66 thought that The Hague should not interfere too much with what happens in the classroom and the VVD also pointed out the useful ways in which smartphones are used in the classroom.
Peters and Beertema are now getting these parties on board in their request to the cabinet to enter into dialogue with parents, teachers and scientists about the best way to keep smartphones out of the classroom. The minister also thinks it is a good plan and he hopes to inform the House before the summer about the results of those talks. If it turns out that there is a big call from schools for a national ban, then, of course, we have to work for that, ”says Wiersma.
The minister says he has started to think differently about the idea of a smartphone ban. At first he thought “that’s exactly what you want to arrange in practice, you don’t want any interference from The Hague”. But he hears from practice: “We don’t know if we can arrange it”. For example, it is difficult to enforce if one teacher allows telephones and the other does not. Experiences also vary with the pockets in which students have to put their smartphones before class.
“Then you may also need regulations from The Hague.” It is still not his preference to do that, but Wiersma does not run away from it if it turns out to be necessary.
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