06 July 2023, by Victoria Séveno
This week, the Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, announced that, in order to limit potential distractions for students, mobile phones and other smart devices will no longer be permitted in classrooms in schools in the Netherlands from January 1, 2024.
An end to smart devices in Dutch classrooms?
While there is no legal framework for a ban, the new rule comes in the form of urgent advice to educational institutions in the Netherlands. Working in collaboration with various educational councils and unions, the Dutch government hopes that – if properly implemented – the ban will limit distractions and improve performance among pupils.
“Even though mobile phones are almost intertwined with our lives, they do not belong in the classroom,” Dijkgraaf said in a statement. “Students must be able to concentrate there and be given every opportunity to learn well. We know from scientific research that mobile phones disrupt this… We have to protect students against that.”
Efficacy of ban to be evaluated in summer 2024
The government explains that mobile phones should only be permitted if they are “necessary for the content of the lesson,” or for students who “depend on their phone, for example for medical reasons or due to a disability.”
Working together with teaching staff, parents and the students themselves, schools will be able to use the period after the summer holidays to stipulate their own rules, with the tougher regulations expected to come into effect next January. If found to be ineffective, the government states that it will evaluate whether a legal ban is necessary at the end of the 2023 / 2024 academic year.
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