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Use of mobile phones banned in classroom from September

Posted August. 18, 2023 08:14,   

Updated August. 18, 2023 08:14


Starting in September, the use of mobile phones during classes will be prohibited in all elementary, middle, and high schools in South Korea. Teachers who issue warnings against mobile phone usage on two or more occasions can confiscate the student's phone. In classroom disruption, teachers can instruct students to stand in the hallway or write a reflection essay.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Education announced the "Guidelines for Teacher Student Life Counseling" at the Government Complex Seoul. If students fail to comply with the counseling authorities specified in the guidelines, they could face disciplinary action for "infringing on educational authority." The guidelines also grant teachers the authority to physically intervene when a problematic student might harm a teacher or classmate. This is aimed at preventing situations where teachers trying to restrain violent students are accused of child abuse. On the same day, the Ministry of Education released the "Guidelines for Protecting Kindergarten Teacher Education Activities." Starting September, guardians with kindergarten students could have their children face suspensions or expulsions for violating educational authority. However, for students in special education programs, expulsion from kindergarten is not possible as it is part of their mandatory education. The guidelines will be formally enacted on Sept. 1 after undergoing administrative notification from Aug. 18 to 28.

The Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations hoped this would become an opportunity to protect teachers' educational authority and students' learning rights. Meanwhile, the Korean Federation of Teachers Unions acknowledged this as a significant step toward safeguarding legitimate educational activities but also pointed out the need for further improvement.

Ye-Na Choi yena@donga.com