New Zealand To Ban Cellphones In Schools

Cellphones will be prohibited in all New Zealand schools, conservative Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced Friday, as his nascent government seeks to improve the country’s dwindling reading rates.

New Zealand’s schools used to have some of the highest literacy rates in the world, but levels of reading and writing have fallen to the point where some researchers fear a “crisis” in the classroom.

Luxon announced that he will ban cell phones in schools within his first 100 days in office, a strategy that has had mixed outcomes in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France.

The move would stop disruptive behaviour and help students focus, Luxon said.

“We are going to ban phones across New Zealand in schools. We want our kids to learn and we want our teachers to teach,” he said.

Researchers from the New Zealand charity Education Hub predicted a “literacy crisis” in 2022 after discovering that more than one-third of 15-year-olds couldn’t read or write.

“That something must be done to address the distressingly low literacy rates in Aotearoa New Zealand is clear,” they wrote.

Luxon’s conservative government, which took office on Monday, has been dogged by scandal in its first week.

Doctors warned that the country was on the verge of a public health “tragedy” after the government abruptly repealed world-leading tobacco control laws aimed at prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to anybody born after 2008.

Luxon has also decided to recommence offshore oil and gas development, thereby repealing one of former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s defining climate change measures.


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