29 Jun 2019
Minister for Education
The Northern Territory joined all other states and territories, except Victoria, in opposing a blanket ban on mobile phones in classrooms at yesterday’s COAG Education Council meeting.
At the regular, cross-jurisdictional meeting of education ministers in Melbourne, Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan encouraged his state and territory counterparts to follow the Victorian Government’s lead and ban mobile phones in state schools during class time.
The Northern Territory has no plans to implement such a ban, Minister for Education Selena Uibo told the meeting.
Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino announced his government’s decision this week, as a way to try to combat cyber-bullying and lessen classroom distraction.
Ms Uibo told the meeting the NT supports school autonomy in deciding whether or not phones should be banned in classrooms and said they can be valuable learning aids for young people using the devices properly, to equip them with the skills they need for jobs of the future.
Also at yesterday’s meeting, education ministers voted unanimously to delay the full rollout of NAPLAN Online by one year, following glitches with this year’s testing that meant thousands of students had to sit the tests again. This included 154 NT students.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Education, Selena Uibo.
“The Territory Labor Government has a zero tolerance approach to bullying, including cyber-bullying.
“Territory schools are required to put in place policies and procedures governing the use of electronic devices in the classroom, including mobile phones, and schools should retain this autonomy.
“Cyber safety and tackling cyber bullying is a key focus in NT schools, and is being addressed with a number of local programs, including the Dolly’s Dream eSmart program, developed by the parents of young bullying victim Dolly Everett.
“An outright ban on mobile phones fails to take into account the many ways in which they can enhance learning. Responsible use of technology, such as mobile phones, is an important life skill for young people.”
Media contact: Kim Stephens 0417 683 144