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Ministry of Education may relax phone policy

Ministry of Education may relax phone policy

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A senior official in the Ministry of Education has indicated that her administration’s policy on cell phones in schools is under review.{{more}}

Permanent Secretary Nicole Bonadie-Baker indicated that the ban on the devices at the institutions may change following consultations with stakeholders.

“Our policy has always been the confiscation of cell phones once they are found in the school. However, after discussions with principals and others, we may have to make some adjustments. But nothing is finalized,” Baker said, exclusively to Searchlight newspaper.

This revelation comes on the heels of the Barbados Ministry of Education moving to impose a complete ban on the telecommunications devices in their schools, and following the suggestion by 2010 Miss SVG Aphesha Matthews that students should be allowed to carry the instruments in schools.

Matthews won best interview award in last Saturday’s pageant, with one of her answers suggesting that students should be allowed to keep their phones in class, as long as they were kept on vibrate.

The Friday, May 28, 2010, edition of the Barbados Nation indicated that after a year long debate, it was decided that come September 2010, students caught with cell phones on school premises will have them confiscated.

According to the article, the cell phones will only be returned to a parent or guardian at the end of the term in which it was confiscated.

Bonadie-Baker indicated that this is the policy of the local ministry, and it has been in place for years.

She said that there may be some circumstances which would warrant the need for a student being in possession of a cell phone.

As to whom these students may be and the circumstances, this has not yet been determined.

The Permanent Secretary also said that opinion expressed by the newly crowned Matthews are her own, and will not influence the ministry’s final decision.

Over the years, cell phones have been seen as a disruptive element in schools, which, among other things, have been used for cheating on exams and for the filming, photographing and distribution of pornographic images.

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