Ontario Government officially unveils plan to ban cellphones in classrooms

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Ontario Minister of Education Lisa Thompson unveiled the Ontario Government‘s plan that would, among other things, ban cellphones in the classroom.

Thompson says this is part of the Ontario Government’s “sweeping new vision for ‘Education that Works for you.” A press release indicates that this plan is “coming soon” to Ontario.

“This is our plan to protect a sustainable world-class education system for the students of today and the future,” Thompson said. “We will make sure our students are leaving schools with the skills they need to build good lives, families and careers right here in Ontario, while ensuring the system is both fiscally sustainable and respectful of parents.”

Thompson said that the plan will include various components including modernizing classrooms by “expanding broadband,” and developing a “new policy that will ban the use of cellphones during class except for educational purposes and modernizing the approach to assessment and evaluation with a renewed focus on equity across the province.”

Curriculum reform would include a focus on renewing math education and would focus on “math fundamentals for all grades,” renewing focus on Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), skills trades and financial literacy, and “a modern and age-appropriate Health and Physical Education Curriculum.”

Thompson detailed that parents will have the ability to exempt their child from sexual health education and “online modules” will be available for parents who want to “discuss sexual health topics at home whenever they feel their child is ready.”

It is important to note that specific details of how banning cellphones will work were not mentioned. Earlier this week it was reported that teachers will have exceptions and will be able to integrate the technology into their lesson plans, as well as to students with special needs.

Students would also be able to use a smartphone in case of a medical emergency, but none of these were made specific during the March 15th announcement.

It was also reported that school boards might be responsible for enforcement of the ban, but that also was not detailed in the announcement.

The Toronto District School Board used to have a cellphone ban but had to lift it after finding that it was impossible to enforce.

Banning cellphones has been part of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford’s election platform in 2018.

Source: Ontario Government