The use of mobile phones in schools has been banned by the Rawalpindi Education Department, causing issues among teaching staff.
Zahoorul Haq, Education Executive District Officer, said, “We have taken the decision as there were reports that teachers were wasting time on mobile phones during school hours. The decision has been taken in the best interest of students. The violators of the ban can face suspension.”
Principals are instructed to take the cellphones from all teachers in the morning and return them at the end of the day. A less lenient solution has already been tried but it was unsuccessful after teachers failed to take the instructions seriously. Zahoorul Haq said, “To ensure that the ban is implemented, we were left with no other option but to direct the head teachers to collect mobile sets from the teachers at the assembly time.”
In case of an emergency, the cellphones can be returned in school timings with the permission of the head-teacher or principle. Hamid Ali Shah, the president of the Punjab Teachers Union Rawalpindi, said “We agree that mobile phones should not be allowed in classrooms, but teachers should not be stopped from using them outside classrooms.”
Other teachers also said that depositing cellphones with the principal made no sense since the ban should extend to classrooms only. On the other hand, an education officer said that most teachers used their cellphones in classrooms and failed to give adequate attention to their classes or students. This left the authorities no other choice but to take drastic action.
Teachers who violate the new rules could be suspended under the the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act.