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Sara backs proposed bill banning smartphones, gadgets during class hours

VICE PRESIDENT and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte said Wednesday she supports the Senate bill banning smartphones and gadgets during class hours.

“We are okay for the banning of use of gadgets for personal use, however, should be subject to exemptions,” Duterte told reporters after the 126th Independence Day celebration here.

Exemptions should include when the gadgets are being utilized for students’ learning and teaching for the instructors.

“I understand these [exemptions] are in the draft [of the Bill], and I have read the draft,” she added.

Senator Win Gatchalian filed on June 11, Senate Bill No. 2706, or the Electronic Gadget-Free Schools Act prohibits electronic gadgets and mobile devices within school premises during class hours.

The bill mandates DepEd to craft guidelines for learners and teachers from kindergarten to senior high school in both public and private basic education institutions. 

The proposed bill, however, emphasized learning-related exemptions including classroom presentations; health and well-being-related (learners with health conditions require the use of gadgets); emergencies; and during field trips or activities outside school premises.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate basic education committee, recognized the need for the restriction of the use of mobile devices and other electronic gadgets as it seems likely to involve students in cyberbullying.

The senator also cited the results of the 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) on the effects of gadget use during class hours. 8 in 10 learners aged 15 reported being distracted by smartphone use during class and the same number recorded being distracted by other learners’ smartphone use.

Results from the assessment revealed that distraction is correlated to a 9.3 points decrease in performance in Math; 12.2 points in Science, and 15.04 points in reading.


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