French Schools Set To Ban All Mobile Devices By Next Fall

Ban Mobile Devices

Leaders in France's education system revealed that a ban on mobile devices inside schools will take effect next autumn.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, France's education minister, announced plans for this new ban on December 10th. When asked when this ban would take place, however, Mr. Blanquer didn't give a date.

French law already bans cell phone use in the classrooms of all primary schools and in the first four years of secondary school. Students today can use their cell phones during breaks and keep them in their backpacks.

With the new ban in place, by contrast, students won't even be able to look at their mobile devices during lunch or at recess. French President Emmanuel Macron supported this policy during his 2017 campaign.

In defending this new ban, Mr. Blanquer argued, "These days the children don't play at break time anymore; they are just all in front of their smartphones, and from an educational point of view, that's a problem." He also pointed to numerous studies that show the negative psychological effects of screen time for children under the age of seven.

Many public school teachers want to know more about how they could possibly enforce this ban. A few questions school administrators want answered include where they can store cell phones and whether they can keep a cell phone in their rooms for emergencies.

Blanquer admitted, "Mobile phones might be needed for educational purposes or in an emergency, so it is important that their use is restricted." The extent of these restrictions, however, is still not known.

The newspaper Le Monde discovered that at least eight in ten French teens have one cell phone as of 2015. That's a massive jump from only 20 percent in 2011.

While the cell phone ban is the biggest news story in the French education system, there are a few other changes students can expect in the near future. For starters, the government announced earlier this month that all schools will soon replace ring tones with human voices. Apparently this is supposed to help students psychologically transition between classes.

Also, in September of 2018 every secondary school in France will have a choir which students can join. If they feel like it, children can sign up for a choir practice course and attend two hours per week.

Françoise Nyssen, France's culture minister, was a key supporter of incorporating choir practice into the school curriculum. He told reporters that the goal behind offering choir practice to students is to "bring culture into the classroom in the long term."

The repertoire choir students will study includes a mix of classical standards, patriotic songs, and popular music. A few artists choir teachers are considering teaching include Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel.

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