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Catalonia To Ban Mobile Phones In Schools

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Spain’s Catalonia will prohibit the use of mobile phones in schools starting from the beginning of the next academic year 2024-2025. In the case of high schools, the regulation will be left to the discretion of each educational institution.

The announcement was made by the Education Minister of the Generalitat, Anna Simó, who stated that the department is developing a proposal for mobile phone regulation. The decision will be communicated to schools, and a final decision will be made in the coming weeks.

Regulatory Framework

This comes after the Catalan School Council advocated for all educational institutions to have a regulatory framework to ban these phones in primary schools and restrict them in secondary schools.

“The goal is to create a general framework for all schools. It should be straightforward. Primary schools should be mobile-free zones,” noted Simó. She mentioned that aspects such as data protection security and the responsibility of teachers in safeguarding that data are being considered.

Ban in Primary Schools

The ban on mobile phones in primary schools, where students are aged between 6 and 12, is expected to take effect at the beginning of the next school year. It is believed that this timeframe will allow schools to adapt.

Regarding guidelines for secondary schools, Simó argued that each high school should decide how to regulate mobile phone usage. “We want to seek the shared responsibility of schools and the educational community and encourage debate,” she added.

Concerns in Sant Cugat Regarding WhatsApp Group

Asked about the WhatsApp chat of secondary and fifth and sixth-grade students in a Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) institute with pornographic material, Simó expressed concern. She recommended that anyone in this group should report it to the Mossos d’Esquadra.

Several schools in the Catalan municipality have informed parents about a WhatsApp group where child pornography is being circulated. The chat includes 400 fifth and sixth-grade minors and ESO students, some of whom may have been added involuntarily and without their consent. Many of them are under 12 years old.

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