THERE are mixed reactions to the Education Ministry's proposal to allow students to bring handphones to school. The stakeholders -- parents, teachers, students and education authorities have expressed their views on the matter. Judging from their concerns it is a tough call to make.
Why do students need to bring handphones to school in the first place?
Handphones are necessary for students and parents to contact each other in case of an emergency. Parents can contact their children if they are late in fetching them and students can inform parents if they have extra classes or other sudden activity.
Schools have public phones but most are not in a working condition. And students would need to walk far from their classrooms to make a call.
If children are allowed to bring handphones to school, parents would be able to keep track of their children. Class monitors could also contact and remind their teachers if they are late for class.
Why are some against the idea of students bringing handphones to school?
Many fear that it will create problems for teachers and schools. The security of the phone is at stake and can lead to theft, bullying and fights.
It may also lead to disciplinary problems in a classroom. Students may be distracted and neglect their studies. They will not be able to concentrate in class.
And it could lead to other social problems. Students without fancy or expensive handphones may feel resentful.
Will handphones help students in school? Apart from the phone and text message functions, handphones can also assist students in their studies.
Most basic cheap handphones come with a dictionary and thesaurus app for students to find the meaning of words.
With WiFi access in schools, students can go to Google or Yahoo to find the latest information. Handphones are a modern entity and they are here to stay. Allowing students to bring handphones to school is keeping up with the times.
Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban