The Department of Public Instruction has issued a circular calling for a ban on the use of mobile phones by government school teachers in the state during school hours.
The circular comes amid rising concerns over the rampant use of mobile phones by teachers. While the order is not new, it has been updated to hold headmasters and headmistresses of government schools responsible for ensuring that teachers do not use phones during school hours.
The circular issued earlier this month stated that mobile phones will be banned to create an ideal environment in schools. "We have observed that teachers and workers using mobile phones while working has caused problems. Hence, we have decided that to create an ideal atmosphere in schools, the use of mobile phones should be banned. In this regard, the use of mobile phones in schools will be strictly banned," reads the circular.
The circular further puts the onus on school headmasters and headmistresses to discipline teachers if they are found using mobile phones in school hours. "Any teacher who is observed using mobile phones will be disciplined. The headmistress will be tasked with taking appropriate action to ensure that no teacher uses mobile phones in schools", the circular states.
"In spite of warning headmasters/mistresses, if they do not ban the use of mobile phones in their schools and if the use of mobile phones is observed during school hours, the headmaster/mistress will be held responsible," the circular further reads.
Officials at the Education Department explained that the order is not new and has been implemented in the past, but admit that the growing nuisance of teachers using mobile phones during school hours was a problem reported in many areas. "Ideally, we should not be passing an order for school teachers to not use mobile phones during school hours. It is extremely distracting and does not set a good example. We have observed this is happening and have decided to come out with the order in which headmasters and headmistresses have to take responsibility for this," said an official.
She further stated that students will now be able to raise a complaint to the Block Education Officer (BEO) when they see a teacher using their phones in the classroom. They can also report to their respective headmaster or headmistress when they observe someone breaching the rule.