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Cellphone ban working, says Whanganui MP Carl Bates

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Schools will be required to have implemented a cellphone ban for students by term two this year. Photo / 123rf

OPINION:

When Erica Stanford, now Minister of Education, proposed a ban on cellphones in schools ahead of last year’s election, there was a degree of scepticism.

The previous government said a nationwide ban was “unnecessary” and showed National “misunderstood how schools operated”.

The cellphone ban was subsequently made a part of the coalition Government’s 100-Day Plan, with schools required to have a plan in place by term two this year.

Many schools, however, put their cellphone rules in place at the start of the new school year, and feedback to date is that they have had an immediate, positive effect.

Over the two days I spent last weekend at the Egmont A&P Show I had plenty of conversations with parents, students and even a few teachers and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Students have quickly adjusted to not being at the beck and call of their phones, and are more focused on their learning.

And that was the clear intent of the cellphone policy.

Carl Bates, MP for Whanganui, says the Government's cellphone ban is getting positive feedback from many teachers, parents and students that he talks to. Photo / Ilona Hanne
Carl Bates, MP for Whanganui, says the Government’s cellphone ban is getting positive feedback from many teachers, parents and students that he talks to. Photo / Ilona Hanne

Just this week provisional NCEA data for 2023 released by the NZ Qualifications Authority showed achievement had dropped for the third consecutive year.

This is of significant concern for National and further underlines the importance of teaching our children the basics from the start of their learning journey.

National will require all primary and intermediate schools to spend an average of an hour a day on reading, an hour a day on writing, and an hour a day on maths.

If we continue to allow children to arrive at high school without mastering the basics, we’re setting them up to fail.

There’s been some love for rural communities too; on Valentine’s Day we repealed the much-maligned Three Waters legislation ensuring that locally owned water infrastructure assets will remain under local control.

Local Government Minister Simeon Brown will introduce replacement legislation in the coming months ensuring a strong emphasis on meeting rules for water quality and long-term investment in infrastructure.

The deadline for our 100-Day Plan, March 8, is fast approaching as we remain totally focused on getting New Zealand back on track.



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