Today the new regulations of the Junta de Andalucía come into force, prohibiting, with justified exceptions, the use of mobile devices in schools, including recess time or complementary and extracurricular activities. In the event that a student misuses the cell phone, the device will be confiscated until the student's parents or guardians come to the principal's office to pick it up.
With this, the regional government aims to standardize the internal regulations of more than 7,000 schools and institutes in the region, disparate protocols that have been designed by the teams of each center in order to avoid coexistence problems. Thus, the region joins the autonomous communities that had already taken on this task and had chosen to ban smartphones during school hours, such as Madrid, Galicia and Castilla-La Mancha.
It was yesterday when public centers (private ones are exempt from compliance with the rule) had access to this instruction from the Ministry of Education, so its implementation today has been quite complex, especially considering that the new Guidelines must be incorporated into the Organization and Operating Regulations (ROF) of each location.
And although unions, the educational community and some parents' associations consulted by this newspaper value this regulation positively, the truth is that they point out that this type of device cannot be "demonized" but rather they insist on the need to train students, parents and teachers for its correct use.
Except for exclusively didactic purposes and “duly justified” pedagogical criteria, or for those students who, for personal reasons, need it with prior authorization from their parents, cell phones must disappear from educational areas. This has been determined by the Department of Education of the Government of Andalusia.
It has been from the Vice-Ministry of this area, headed by María Esperanza O'Neill, from where the instruction has been sent to the centers indicating the need to remove the devices in case the rules of coexistence are breached. With this, we want to respond to an increasingly pressing problem and stop certain behaviors that are "not civic or exemplary from an educational, social and emotional point of view" that "are increasingly amplified and exposed through the immediacy of the digital devices and, especially, mobile phones.
For this reason, the norm states, "it is a priority to adopt measures for the promotion, risk prevention and safety in the use of the Internet and information and communication technologies by minors to guarantee "the protection of those against abuse and violence of all kinds that occur through the Internet, different devices and mobile phones."
For this reason, he points out, "educational centers must consider actions to prevent cyberbullying or possible situations of abuse through technological means within their coexistence plan", and in addition to the general prevention strategies provided for in the coexistence plans, In the different protocols in force and in the orientation and tutorial action plans, "it is advisable to enhance and intensify preventive and proactive attitudes and mechanisms."
The regulations provide that the management team personnel have the power to “remove” their mobile phone from a student who fails to comply with the guidelines. Of course, a series of circumstances must occur for the procedure to be valid: the phone must be confiscated in the administrative offices of the center or the management team and there must be two witnesses from the same unit. The sanctioned student must be asked to “proceed to turn off” his or her device and it will be kept in the management office until it is returned to the legal representatives of the affected person.
And with respect to this way of proceeding, María Jiménez, president of CODAPA, Andalusian Confederation of Associations of Mothers and Fathers of Students for Public Education, has expressed her doubts, who fears that the removal of the cell phone could become "another more bureaucratic process." ” which leads to “the time you have for other things being now used in this management.”
The instruction specifies, on the other hand, that "the corrections that must be applied to students for non-compliance with the rules of coexistence must have an educational and remedial approach and must guarantee respect for the rights of the rest of the students." Likewise, it indicates that the teachers who are performing the functions of the guard service "will pay special attention and exercise extreme vigilance during periods of class changes and breaks."
The president of the Education Sector of CSIF Andalusia, Elena García, has been in favor of “a clear normative regulation regarding what use can be made and what limitations or prohibitions should be, if applicable, of mobile phones, not only in the classrooms, but in the entire educational facility in question", although he has clarified that these devices, well regulated, are also "instruments in the teaching-learning process", as the union has confirmed to this newspaper.
“The use of cell phones is behind many situations of conflict, deterioration of coexistence and even harassment, both among students and towards teachers, that occur in schools,” said García, while not wanting to leave pass the opportunity to point out that, the larger the teaching staff, the lower the ratios and a better climate in the classrooms.
For her part, the president of CODAPA places a magnifying glass on how this instruction will be implemented in the centers, since she points out that the regulation of the use of mobile phones by students was already being done based on the autonomy of each one, for what he considers that it is “just an exposure to the media.” Jiménez insists that the use of technologies cannot be “demonized” and calls for a “slow analysis” and a “calm debate” about these rules and the way in which they will be part of life in schools. and institutes, since he considers it "ironic" that the instruction mentions the "guidance action" as one of the axes of work when "the counselors are saturated because many have a ratio of 1,000 students."
Pedro Arias, head of ADIÁN Sevilla, the Associations of Directors of IES of Andalusia, in a telephone conversation with La Vanguardia, considers that having a homogeneous regulatory framework in all Andalusian educational centers is “positive”, although he highlights that “Most relevant” are the training actions on the use of mobile phones, aimed at both teachers and families, which are announced by the Ministry and which will be carried out between the second and third trimester (they are at the expense of their design).
“It is appreciated that there are common guidelines for everyone,” says Arias, although he acknowledges that he has only been able to “take a quick look” at the regulations and that his center, at least, needs a little more time to adapt its regulations (ROF ) and comply with the Education ruling. At the moment, with the Constitution bridge in between, he estimates that it will be Monday when these procedures will be carried out and, after that, both students and parents will be informed through official channels.
And the fact is that, although these new guidelines from the Junta de Andalucía have come into force today, there has not been material time to inform parents and students about them. There are no messages in the Ipasen application (official notification tool between teachers and parents) on this matter and many parents and guardians are dissatisfied with the lack of instructions. "Everything takes its own process and adaptation time," concludes the head of ADIÁN in Seville.