RAWALPINDI: The education department Rawalpindi has banned use of mobile phones in schools, creating problems for the teachers.
To ensure implementation of the ban, headteachers and principals have been directed to collect mobile phones from all teachers in the morning assembly and return them at the end of school hours.
“Yesterday, our headteacher told us that we are not allowed to use mobile phones in the school. She collected the mobile sets from us in the morning and returned them later in the day,” said a teacher of Government Girls High School Dhoke Hassu.
When contacted, Executive District Officer (Education) Zahoorul Haq confirmed the ban.
“Yes, we have taken the decision as there were reports that teachers were wasting time on mobile phones during school hours. The decision has been taken in the best interest of students. The violators of the ban can face suspension.”
The EDO said in the past the department had tried to check the use of mobile phones in classrooms but majority of the teachers did not take the directives seriously.
“To ensure that the ban is implemented, we were left with no other option but to direct the head teachers to collect mobile sets from the teachers at the assembly time.”
He said in case of an emergency teachers can use their mobile phones with the permission of the headteachers.
“We agree that mobile phones should not be allowed in classrooms, but teachers should not be stopped from using them outside classrooms,” said Hamid Ali Shah, the president of the Punjab Teachers Union Rawalpindi.
“There should be a ban on the use of mobile phones in the classrooms but asking teachers to deposit their mobile phones with the headteachers every morning makes no sense. Teachers can decide when they can use a mobile phone,” said Raja Shahid, a schoolteacher.
An area education officer, wishing not to be named, said a majority of teachers used mobile phones in classrooms and did not pay attention to their classes.
“There has to be some administrative means to check teachers from using mobile phones during teaching hours.”
He added that the violators of the ban can face suspension under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act.
In reply to a question, the official said there was already a ban on the use of mobile phones by students in classrooms.
“Usually, students of government schools don’t possess mobile phones. In case someone is found using a mobile phone in the class, we are directed to reprimand and warn them,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2014