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DURING CLASS HOURS: City councilor proposes limit on mobile phone use

By Jason B. Neola


CITY Councilor Joselito S.A. Del Rosario is advocating for the enactment of a city ordinance that aims to regulate the use of mobile phones and similar electronic gadgets during class hours in both public and private elementary and secondary schools in Naga City.


The ordinance also establishes standards for constituting a technical working group for such purpose.


During a privilege speech at the recent regular session, Del Rosario, who chairs the committee on education at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, emphasized that while technology has undeniably improved classroom instruction and the learning environment, its abuse or inappropriate use can lead to many disadvantages within the classroom setting.


Del Rosario acknowledged that technological tools have been shown to increase student engagement, access to resources, and overall learning but stressed the need for strict regulation.


He cited the unregulated use of mobile phones by students during class hours as a significant issue, allowing access to various social media sites and causing distractions, loss of attention, and eventual difficulty in comprehension, which hinders competency development.


To support his arguments, Del Rosario used as reference various studies and research showing a direct correlation between literacy levels and unsupervised gadget use, particularly during classroom discussions.


He cited the 2023 Global Education Monitoring Report of UNESCO, which highlighted distractions caused by gadgets in 14 countries and recommended banning phones in schools. Countries such as France, Finland, China, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal have already implemented such bans.


Del Rosario pointed out that unlike these countries, the Philippines currently lacks similar prohibitions on cellphone use in schools.


He urged his colleagues in the city council to pass the proposed ordinance, emphasizing the importance of enhancing efforts to improve the performance of Filipino students in global rankings.


Citing the poor performance of the Philippines in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranking, Del Rosario highlighted the urgency of the situation. Filipino students, according to a report on December 5, 2023, are five to six years behind their foreign peers in learning competencies.


The proposed ordinance’s explanatory note states that regulating mobile phone and similar electronic gadget use by students during class hours is seen as a beneficial undertaking to reduce unnecessary distractions, enhance focus in classroom discussions, and improve the overall learning and competency development of the Nagueño students.

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