UNESCO supports the prohibition of smartphones in schools

  • The UNESCO Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report 2023 has been published.
  • The paper cautioned against excessive screen time’s harmful effects on children’s well-being and academic achievement.
What is UNESCO?
Full NameUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
EstablishedNovember 16, 1945
HeadquartersParis, France
Director-GeneralAudrey Azoulay
PurposeTo encourage worldwide collaboration in education, research, culture, and communication in order to promote peace and security.
Functions– promoting universal education – supporting scientific research – preserving cultural heritage – fostering free expression – promoting media development
MembershipOver 190 member states
World Heritage SitesOver 1,100 designated sites worldwide
LanguagesOfficial languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish Working languages: English, French

About Global Education Monitoring Report 2023

  • The GEM Report, which was established in 2002, is an editorially independent report maintained and published by UNESCO.
  • At the 2015 World Education Forum, it was mandated by 160 states to monitor and report on progress towards SDG 4.0 education.
  • The study examines and assesses important educational topics and challenges around the world.
  • It also provides evidence-based insights and policy recommendations for bettering educational systems and outcomes.

Concerns expressed in the report

  • The Ills of Digital Learning: The research emphasises that if technology is utilised excessively or without the presence of qualified teachers, the learning benefits decline.
  • Equitable Learning: According to the research, imbalances in learning occur when instruction becomes solely remote, impacting vulnerable pupils, particularly in rural places.
  • Evidence-based Approach: The paper advocates for reliable, unbiased evidence on the impact of technology on education, as most available research comes from technology companies and may be biassed.
  • Costs and Sustainability in the Long Run: Countries must evaluate the long-term costs of digital learning and connection. The growth of the Edtech business should not be allowed to overwhelm unfulfilled basic education demands.
  • AI threats include: The advancement of generative AI and technology involves the development of digital literacy and critical thinking abilities.
  • Children’s Rights: During the epidemic, several internet education programmes ran the risk of violating children’s rights.

Key endorsements include the prohibition of smartphones in schools

  • The paper supports the prohibition of smartphones in schools if technological integration does not increase learning or has a negative impact on student well-being.
  • According to research, prohibiting mobile phones in schools can improve academic performance, particularly among low-performing kids.
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