Bavaria: cell phones in schools – yes or no? “School forum” could bring solutions

Bavaria: cell phones in schools - yes or no?

Bavaria's schools are to decide for themselves in the future whether and to what extent the private use of cell phones is permitted in school buildings. This is the result of a round table to which bavaria's new minister of education, bernd sibler (CSU), invited around forty representatives of parents, teachers and schools, as well as external experts, to the ministry of education.

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"the unanimous will at the round table was to delegate more decision-making freedom to the schools", said sibler after the meeting. So a "school forum" could be established on site find pragmatic solutions for cell phone use outside the classroom that are adapted to the school by teachers, parents and schoolchildren. These could then be laid down in a school contract.

Much more trouble at schools

Up to now, cell phones have to be switched off not only during lessons, but also on the entire school grounds – except that a teacher allows private use in justified individual cases. This rule, however, causes trouble at the schools again and again.

Last fall, for example, a new head of school at johann schoner gymnasium in karlstadt, germany, had the opportunity to introduce a new policy on cell phone use. Main-spessart) has cancelled the school's decision to limit the use of cell phones during the lunch break and in the upper class room, citing the legal opinion of the ministry. There, the regulation was considered "too far-reaching" found.

Exactly such individual case regulations are now to become possible throughout bavaria – possibly even without a change in the school law. "We still have to clarify whether a clarification in the law is necessary", said sibler. In his opinion, however, the current wording already allows for the possibility of individual solutions for cell phone use as a kind of self-commitment by the respective schools.

New rule as early as autumn?

Without a change in the law, schools could already introduce their own cell phone regulations in the new school year starting in the fall, sibler believes. If, on the other hand, a change in the law was necessary, it could probably not be brought about before the state elections in october, which would postpone a solution to the cell phone dispute in schools for at least months.

The ministry of education will in any case give the schools a great deal of freedom in finding their own regulations, the minister announced: this is "also a step towards democratization and participation" at the schools. The ministry will, however, provide the schools with a scientific "guide" to set cornerstones for the handling of cell phones. This also includes the conviction that, despite all the openness to new technology in schools, there is also "room for maneuver" there must be, says sibler.

Individual solutions rejected

The CSU majority in the state parliament had so far rejected individual solutions at schools and demanded a bavarian-wide uniform relaxation on the use of cell phones. "We will now first discuss the results of the round table in the state parliament", sibler therefore said. However, he has "a lot of sympathy" for the path that has now been chosen.

Meanwhile, the bavarian state school council (LSR) was very satisfied with the discussion: "we are very much in favor of each school deciding for itself in the school forums, said LSR spokesman florian schwegler from the gymnasium marktbreit (lkr. Kitzingen). Many schools are also becoming more open to digitalization and thus to the use of cell phones, the high school graduate believes: "we therefore hope for more freedom at schools."


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