The Education Ministry of the Netherlands said on Tuesday the ban on cellular phones in classes will be enforced starting January 1, 2024. Exceptions will be made for lessons on digital skills, or if students with disabilities or other medical conditions need the devices.
The ban has been agreed on by the Education Ministry, schools and other related organizations.
Dutch Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf said mobile phones, tablets and smart watches don’t belong in the classroom, even though they “are intertwined with our lives.”
“Students need to be able to concentrate and need to be given the opportunity to study well. Mobile phones are a disturbance, scientific research shows. We need to protect students against this,” he added in a statement.
Dijkgraaf said schools will be given the space to implement the ban as per their own plans, but warned that legal rules would apply if the ban was not implemented by the summer of 2024.
The Dutch decision follows a similar one in France, and one announced last week by Finland.
In Germany, only the state of Bavaria formally banned mobile phones in schools until the last academic year, when the ban was relaxed. German freedom laws generally contradict a ban on mobile phones, though schools have the freedom to issue their own regulations