Mobile phone idea more harm than good, says STU chief

Wednesday July 18, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/7/18/sarawak/11680525&sec=sarawak

KUCHING: Students may be given the green light to bring their mobile phones to school from next year but the whole idea remains unfavourable to teachers.

Sarawak Teachers Union president William Ghani Bina revealed that he was actually against the idea given it could bring more harm to the students both in academic and also to a certain extent, their safety.

“I was involved in the discussion chaired by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong and we (teachers) were not agreeable to it but the parents (through the parent-teacher association) was in favour of students bringing mobile phones to school,” he told The Star over the phone.

He said there were several reasons cited by the parents on why they wanted their children to carry mobile phones at all times and one of it included being able to keep tabs on their (children) whereabouts.

However, Ghani begged to differ.

He said it only took one student to defy the rule and sneakily play with the phone during class to interrupt a lesson.

“Right now, the rule states that mobile phones are allowed to be brought to school but it must not be used during class. However, you are bound to have one or two playful ones who will attempt to use their phones in class.

“If they are caught, then you will have the teacher having to stop the lesson abruptly to confiscate the phone and this would disturb the concentration of the other students. We are talking about a class of some 40 students,” he explained. Confiscated mobile phones can only be claimed by the parents.

He did not see the need to bring mobile phones as there were public phone booths available at schools.

Furthermore, he said teachers were more than willing to lend students their phones when truly needed.

Talking on safety, Ghani felt that allowing students to bring phones to school would only make them an easy target of thieves.

“It gets dangerous now. They (students) could get mugged for their phones. And let’s say they become too preoccupied talking or text messaging while they walk home, they would not be alert to their surrounding. What if they get in the way of a car?” he said.

Even if the Education Act 1996 allows it next year, Ghani hoped that parents would refrain from letting their children bring phones to school unless it was truly necessary.

“Since they (parents) wanted this, they must make sure that mobile phones do not get in the way of their children’s performance in school,” he added.