A new UN report raised concerns on Wednesday about the excessive use of smartphones, calling for them to be banned in schools worldwide. According to the UN’s education, science and culture agency UNESCO, the over-use of mobile phones impacts learning.
UNESCO’s report on technology in education urges countries to carefully consider how technology is used in schools.
It emphasises the need for a “human-centered vision” where digital technology serves as a tool rather than taking precedence.
Speaking to UN News, UNESCO’s Manos Antoninis also warned of the danger of data leaks in educational tech, as only 16 per cent of countries guarantee data privacy in the classroom, by law.
“We know that vast amounts of data are being used without the appropriate regulation, so this data ends up being used for other non-educational purposes, commercial purposes and that’s of course a violation of rights that needs to be regulated.”
The UNESCO report also highlights the disparities created by digital learning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, half a billion students worldwide were left out due to the shift to online-only tuition.
Geographically, the report noted a significant imbalance in online resources favouring Europe and North America.
UNESCO is urging countries to set their own standards for the way technology is designed and used in education such that it never replaces in-person, teacher-led instruction and supports the shared objective of quality education for all.