Tuesday, 4 July 2023 – 14:26
Children will soon be prevented from bringing mobile phones into Dutch classrooms. Sources close to the Cabinet confirmed that schools will have until October 1 figure out how they can arrange the restriction on their own. If that fails, national rules may be introduced to restrict the use of telephones in schools.
Unnamed sources also confirmed the story to ANP, after it was first reported by AD and RTL Nieuws.
Smartphones may still be used if they are needed for class, or if there is a medical need. One example of the latter is if a student with diabetes needs to measure sugar levels.
Schools and teachers have been asking for rules to restrict the use of mobile phones in the classroom for some time. The debate about this issue gained momentum at the end of last year when CDA Member of Parliament René Peters advocated on behalf of a ban. The largest opposition party in the Tweede Kamer, PVV, has been outspoken in favor of a ban for an extended period, and has joined forces with the CDA, a coalition party.
Initially, the plea from the CDA and PVV was warmly received in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Parliament, with a degree of support from two other coalition parties. These include Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD, and the smallest party in the coalition, ChristenUnie. However, former Education Minister Dennis Wiersma and the two parties thought it was better for the schools themselves to set limits in this regard.
Gradually, the number of supporters seemed to increase. A large group of teachers appeared to support the proposal, teachers union AOb announced after commissioning a poll.
Due to persistent signals from teachers that they are unable to keep smartphones out of the classroom on their own, Wiersma left the door open at the beginning of this year to examine the policy. He promised discuss the issue with schools and said he would be open to a ban if there was a great need for it.