The Minister for Education, Richard Bruton published a circular requiring all schools to consult parents, teachers and students on the use of smart phones and tablet devices in schools.
Minister Bruton also reiterated his commitment that the use of smart phones in schools will be included as an item requiring consultation under the Education Bill 2016, that requires every school to consult with parents and students on key issues and publish and operate a Parent and Student Charter in line with national statutory guidelines.
The circular asks schools to engage as soon as possible with parents, students and teachers on if and how smart phones and other tablet devices should be used in schools.
Schools are required to consult parents and students on the following:
- The appropriate use, if any, of tablet devices and smart phones in school.
- The issues governing the use of smart phones and tablet devices with regard to, for example, recording videos, taking photos.
- The nature and scope of restrictions that might be applied by the school e.g. age grounds.
- If smart phones should be allowed outside of class time i.e. during breaks, on school grounds, after school.
- Schools should use the opportunity of the consultation process to raise awareness and promote a shared approach regarding the appropriate use of digital technologies in the school and home.
“I recognise that the use of smart phones and tablet devices by our young people is an area that has raised concerns. New technologies are fundamentally transforming the world we live in. While these changes offer fantastic opportunities for our young people they are also associated with potential risks, which we as a Government are responding to,” Minister Bruton said.
“New technologies can open up a world of opportunity for our young people but we must harness their potential and ensure that parents, students and schools have a shared understanding of their use our education system.”