While the use of mobile phones in schools was allowed and later withdrawn some years ago, current feedback from students, teachers and parents has been encouraging although some parties have reservations.
THE ONE thing that Form Five student Marissa Rahman (not her real name) remembers to do when she arrives at school every morning is to switch off her smart phone after her parents drop her off at the school gate.
Then she walks over to keep the phone in a locker, one of many that were built after the ban on mobile phones in Marissa’s school was relaxed two years ago.
Marissa and her schoolmates who bring mobile phones to school, strictly abide by school rules as otherwise their phones will be confiscated.
The students are only allowed to retrieve their phones from the lockers, which are secured by two padlocks and monitored by three CCTV cameras, when school ends each day.
Despite the strict regulations imposed, Marissa believes the rules are fair since the students are allowed to bring their mobile phones to school.
“Having my mobile phone around gives me a sense of security as I can contact my parents easily whenever I have to stay back in school.
“We only have one public phone in the school compound which breaks down all the time and is not calibrated to accept new coins,” says Marissa, who is studying at a government school in the Klang Valley.
The principal of the school says the decision was made after taking into consideration the concerns of parents who worry about the safety of their children.
“The location of the school is in a secluded area and it gives me peace of mind to know that students can use their mobile phones to call for help if anything should happen to them,” says the principal.
The recent announcement by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong to allow students to carry mobile phones and IT gadgets to school from next year has drawn mixed reaction from stakeholders such as teachers, parents, students and even the school administration.Students would be allowed to bring mobile phones and IT gadgets to school after rules and regulations under the Education Act 1996 were amended, he said.
The move, he said, was in line with the implementation of the virtual teaching and learning programme, dubbed 1Bestari which offered free WiFi services.
by Karen Chapman, Tan Ee Loo and Kang Soon Chen.