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Smart watches may be the same as smuggling cell phones into class, some worry as phone ban begins

Summarised by Centrist

Bans on cell phones in Kiwi school classrooms, which began to be adopted from the start of 2024, officially began on Monday April 29 – but, smart watches are not yet banned – leaving a grey area for individual schools to regulate.  

Most schools have existing BYOD policies around the appropriate use of laptops and tablets. The new government rules leave schools to make their own decisions about the management of wearable devices, like smart watches, in consultation with their community.

The Ministry of Education initially warned the government as far back as December that pupils could find loopholes by using devices like smart-watches.

The new regulations require that schools must ensure students do not use or access a phone while they are attending school, including during lunch time and breaks. 

This includes students who are on a school course or visit outside the school grounds. This must be in effect no later than the start of Term 2, 29 April of this year.  

Some schools, such as Glendowie College, Wellington High School and Albany High School, banned cellphones years ago and have reported successful outcomes. 

Just one school is exempt from the cellphone ban – Te Kura, The Correspondence School – which needs cellphones available to its tens of thousands of students nationwide. 

Read more over at the Ministry of Education’s website

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