By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Leila de Lima is seeking the passage of a bill that would regulate the use of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets among young students.
In filing Senate Bill No. 1271, de Lima said it was imperative that the government ensures that students in private and public schools are able to focus on improving their academic performance and achieve academic excellence.
De Lima said it was the duty of the State to provide students with a more focused, positive and supportive learning environment, free from any distractions that thwart them from performing well in school.
“Making life easier and more efficient are just some of the benefits brought about by the advancement of technology,” de Lima said.
“However, excessive use of mobile devices can also lead to an array of negative effects and hazards,” she said.
The senator said regulating the use of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets in schools is one of the immediate solutions that the government can take to improve the learning conditions for our students and help them towards better performance in our schools.
Citing the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), de Lima noted that the Philippines ranked last among 79 countries in reading comprehension among 15-year-old students, with the country ending up below ranks 70 in mathematics and science.
But at the same time, she cited a study which found out that unrestrained use of mobile phones poses risks to students, leading them to fare poorly in elementary and junior high school primarily due to lack of sleep that affects their concentration and retention.
“Other noted adverse effects include psychological and physiological complications, and mental health issues, which interfere with education, diminish academic performance, and contribute to increase in teenage anxiety, depression and suicide,” she stressed.
De Lima, citing 2015 study by the London School of Economics and Political Science, said schools can help significantly reduce education achievement gap by forbidding students from using mobile phones in schools.
While mobile phones and other electronic devices can also be useful in bringing higher quality teaching and learning, she said there is a need to balance student performance with integrating mobile devices in educational system.
Under the bill, De Lima said the Department of Education (DepEd) would be mandated to promulgate clear-cut guidelines regulating the use of mobile devices and other electronic gadgets in the schools.
These guidelines, she said shall establish the procedure to be observed in cases of abuse of mobile devices and electronic gadgets in the commission of other student misconducts such as cheating and bullying, as well as promote the responsible use of mobile devices and electronic gadgets.
Furthermore, she said, the measure shall apply to all public K-12 institutions under the control and supervision of the DepEd.