AEU Victoria cautiously supports school mobile phone ban

The Australian Education Union in Victoria says the Victorian government’s move to ban mobile phones in public schools is a significant step which will have ramifications in every classroom. 

“We know that mobile phones can be used by some students to bully other students and removing them from the school environment can make it easier for teachers and principals to ensure a safe environment for all,” said Justin Mullaly, Deputy President of the Australian Education Union in Victoria.

“Smartphones can also be a major distraction in class and often makes it harder for students to concentrate. Academic performance is impacted when students are checking their phones and messaging their peers during class time.

“But we can’t lose sight of the benefits that technology, including mobile phones, can bring to high quality teaching and learning. The government is right to enable teachers to make judgements about the use of mobile phones as part of the education program in their classroom. 

“Equal access to such devices is more limited for some students in lower socio-economic communities. Technology in schools is variable depending on the infrastructure of the school. We need the State Government to increase investment in this to ensure that all students have equal access to technology including fast and reliable internet.

“Mobile phones are ubiquitous, and their misuse and over use are issues which go further than schools. Teachers have a role in ensuring students have the knowledge and skills to use technology in a safe and responsible way, as do parents. 

“Given their decision, the government now must provide clear and tangible support and advice to teachers, principals and school support staff to implement the ban which will take time and effort to enforce. We expect the government to ensure there are comprehensive communications to students and parents.

“The decision to evaluate the ban after 12 months is an important one, and it must be a process that enables proper consultation with the profession,” said Mr Mullaly. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Aliya Ahmad 0428 684 307