De Lima files Senate bill regulating gadget use in school

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Sen. Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure regulating the use of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets among students in private and public schools to improve their academic performance and achieve academic excellence.

In filing Senate Bill (SB) No. 1271, De Lima said it is the duty of the State to provide students with a more focused, positive, and supportive learning environment that is free from any distractions that prevent them from performing poorly in school.

“Making life easier and more efficient are just some of the benefits brought about by the advancement of technology. However, excessive use of mobile devices can also lead to an array of negative effects and hazards,” she said.

“Regulating the use of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets in schools is one of the immediate solutions that the government can take to improve the learning conditions for our students and help them towards better performance in our schools,” she added.

The Philippines ranked last among 79 countries in reading comprehension among 15-year-old students, with the country ending up below ranks 70 in mathematics and science, according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

De Lima, however, noted a study which found that unrestrained use of mobile phones poses risks to students, leading them to fare poorly in elementary and junior high school primarily due to lack of sleep that affects their concentration and retention.

“Other noted adverse effects include psychological and physiological complications, and mental health issues, which interfere with education, diminish academic performance, and contribute to increase in teenage anxiety, depression and suicide,” she added.

In addition, she continued, a 2015 study by the London School of Economics and Political Science found out that “schools could significantly reduce the education achievement gap by prohibiting mobile phone use in schools.”

While mobile phones and other electronic devices can also be useful in bringing higher quality teaching and learning, De Lima maintained there is a need to balance student performance with integrating mobile devices in educational system.

Under SB No. 1271, De Lima explained that the Department of Education (DepEd) is mandated to promulgate clear-cut guidelines regulating the use of mobile devices and other electronic gadgets in the schools.

“These guidelines shall likewise establish the procedure to be observed in cases of abuse of mobile devices and electronic gadgets in the commission of other student misconducts such as cheating and bullying, as well as promote the responsible use of mobile devices and electronic gadgets,” she said.

De Lima, who chairs the Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development Committee in the Senate, said the measure shall apply to all public K-12 institutions under the control and supervision of the DepEd.

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