A year into the mobile ban

The year has nearly come to an end and the world looks forward to another one in fear and hope. As educational institutions close down for Christmas holidays in the city of Bangalore, students, teachers and even parents can’t help but think of the ban that was imposed by the Government of Karnataka a little more than a year ago. October 2007 saw the mobile ban being activated on all institutions at the pre- university level, whipping the law to the extent that students, teachers as well as the non- teaching staff had to abide by it.  

It’s the end of 2008 and people still can’t help but agree with the ban. Neetu, a student of St. John’s High School says, “The ban has successfully completed a year. And I’m happy that I could abide by it. Ever since the ban I’ve made it a point not to bring my mobile phone to school. That way I feel satisfied with my own conduct.” But is every student as content with the situation as Neetu? Naveen a student from a reputed school in the central part of the city says, “There’s no point taking students through this, because no matter what, they would still somehow manage to bring phones to school and will get away without being caught.”  

In 2007, when the Government decided on going ahead with the ban, they had reasons to do so. The most obvious was the concern for children’s health and welfare. Equally obvious was the fact that carrying mobile phones within school premises plays havoc with student’s attention during class hours. The latter, though, still continues to haunt school authorities even a year after the ban. Neetu says, “Innumerable times students are found playing music in the middle of a class. The authorities don’t know what to do other than to confiscate the mobiles through surprise checks.”

Now that the ban has been around for more than a year, do the authorities still feel the need to support it? “Yes of course. I think the mobile is the worst creation of technology and is more damaging than benefiting. Whenever we find students carrying mobile phones, we confiscate them. In worse cases, we arrange for a parents- teachers meeting”, says the Vice Principal of St. Germain High School. “But the desperation with which they want to possess a mobile is surprising. It’s as if they can beg, borrow or even steal! And the worst part is that even parents allow their children to come to school with their mobile phones citing the excuse of tuition after school.”  

The times are different now with terror attacks haunting the nation time and again. In a situation such as this, is it wise to continue with the mobile ban? “There is so much uncertainty around (after the blasts rocked Mumbai) that I feel crippled to send my child anywhere without a mobile phone. In times of distress, it’s better to do away with the mobile ban”, says Edward whose son studies at St. Germain High School.  

The fate of the mobile ban in Karnataka is difficult to predict but it may come to an end one day. Until then Bangalore’s schools have no choice but to grin and bear it.
Tags: mobile phone, school ban, children

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