Noting that the use of cellphones by teachers inside the classroom distracts students and teachers, diverting them from learning, the Andhra Pradesh government has banned the use of mobile phones in classrooms.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by state Education Minister Botcha Satyanarayana earlier this month, where the consensus among teachers, union representatives and education experts was to restrict the use of phones in the classrooms as “their negative impact outweighs their utility”.
The state government cited the Global Educational Monitoring Report, 2023, by UNESCO and said that even when they are not actively using their phones, students encounter difficulty in maintaining concentration when studying in close proximity to them.
A statement by the Andhra Pradesh government said, “It has been seen that many teachers take mobile phones into the classrooms during teaching hours for their personal use and not for any professional requirement. This diverts teaching time in the classroom to other purposes that are unproductive for the academic improvement of children.”
Teachers will be required to deposit their mobile phones, set to silent mode, with the headmaster immediately after marking their attendance.
The government also laid out the punishment for teachers if they are caught using phones in classrooms. For the first offence, the teacher’s mobile phone will be confiscated by the headmaster or inspection officer and kept in the main office until the end of the school day. Before being allowed to take the phone, the teacher will have to give an undertaking to not repeat the offence.
For the second offence, the teacher’s mobile phone will be confiscated and held in the main office until the end of the school day. The Mandal Education Officer (MEO) will be contacted and informed of the teacher’s refusal to follow the mobile phone policy. The teacher can pick up their phones after a discussion with the MEO and after being issued a warning.
For third-time offenders, the phone will be confiscated and sent to the District Education Officer. The teacher will be given back the phone only after a discussion with the DEO and after the offence is recorded in their service book.
The statement said headmasters have been asked to ensure vigilant supervision and adherence to the directives and any deviations must be “meticulously documented and communicated to inspecting authorities for action”.
If violations are noticed, inspecting officers, whether on regular inspection or surprise inspections, can propose action against the head of the school. The headmaster will also be held accountable if complaints are received from students or the general public.
The state government has asked District Education Officers to conduct awareness meetings and workshops with teachers to help in the smooth implementation of the directives.
“Collective attempts can forge an educational environment that harnesses the positive attributes of technology while safeguarding the well-being of students,” the statement said.
On August 10, the Delhi Directorate of Education had also banned the use of mobile phones in classrooms in both government schools and private schools.
Teachers had also been asked to avoid using phones in places like classrooms, playgrounds, laboratories and libraries where teaching and learning activities take place.