France is bringing in a total ban on mobile phones in all schools when the new school year starts in September 2018.
Students are currently not allowed bring phones into the classroom but under the new rules phones will no longer be permitted at breaks, lunch times and between lessons.
The controversial move will have a wide reaching impact as it is estimated 93 per cent of French 12 to 17-year-olds own mobile phones.
‘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,’ said Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French education minister.
‘This is about ensuring the rules and the law are respected. The use of telephones is banned in class. With headmasters, teachers and parents, we must come up with a way of protecting pupils from loss of concentration via screens and phones,” he said.
‘Are we going to ban mobile phones from schools? The answer is yes.’
Mr Blanquer had previously suggested that schools would have to provide lockers for pupils to store the phones during school hours.
‘We are currently working on this [ban] and it could work in various ways,’ said Mr Blanquer.
‘Phones may be needed for teaching purposes or in cases of emergency so mobile phones will have to be locked away,’ The Telegraph reports.
Earlier this year, he suggested that if French politicians were able to put their phones away during council of ministers meetings, then surely it was “possible for any human group, including a class” to do the same.
The practice is already in use in many French “colleges”, or primary schools.
‘A box placed on the table at the entrance to my class awaits mobile phones. I have never had any problems.
‘It takes two minutes at the start of each hour. This was already the case in primary schools I worked in in Paris,’ one teacher based in Rueil-Malmaison told Le Figaro.