UNESCO Calls for Evaluation of Smartphone Use in Schools
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has issued a global appeal for countries to assess the role of smartphones in classrooms.
UNESCO director general Audrey Azoulay emphasized the need to regulate smartphone use in education to ensure enhanced learning experiences and the well-being of students and teachers. She stated, “Its use must be for enhanced learning experiences and for the well-being of students and teachers, not to their detriment.”
Data Privacy Concerns
One of the key issues raised by UNESCO director Manos Antoninis is the risk of data leaks in educational technology. He highlighted that only 16% of countries have legal provisions to protect data privacy in the classroom.
Antoninis expressed concern about the misuse of data for non-educational and commercial purposes, emphasizing the importance of regulating data usage to safeguard privacy rights.
Impact of Phones in Schools
The report referenced various studies indicating that banning smartphones can lead to improved academic performance. Consequently, many countries have implemented laws and policies prohibiting mobile phone use in schools, particularly in central and South Asia, with 13% of countries having laws and 14% having policies in place.
While recognizing the potential benefits of technology in the classroom, the report also highlighted significant disparities. It revealed that half a billion students worldwide faced disruptions in education due to the transition to online learning during the pandemic.
The distribution of online resources was also unequal, favoring North America and Europe. UNESCO stressed the importance of clarifying national plans for technology use in education to ensure it supplements teaching rather than replacing teachers and leaving underprivileged students behind.
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