Teachers can use handphones in classrooms for personal reasons if there is a pressing need to do so

SEREMBAN: There is no Education Ministry directive barring teachers from using handphones in the classroom, said Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon.

Teachers can use handphones in classrooms for personal reasons if there is a pressing need to do so, he added.

“There is no directive from the Ministry stating when a teacher can or cannot use their mobile phones or if they can take it to the classroom.

“I am sure teachers know when they should use their mobile phones and that they should not use them unnecessarily during lessons,” he said when met at a pre-Chinese New Year celebration in Ulu Temiang, reported The Star Online.

On Feb 6, Deputy Education Minister I P Kamalanathan was quoted as saying that teachers were prohibited from bringing or using their mobile phones while in class.

He had said that teachers could bring their handphones to school, but not into the classroom while teaching.

In response, the National Union of the Teaching Profession said that teachers had to use their mobile phones in classrooms to enhance the learning and teaching process.

NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan said that teachers used mobile phones to facilitate virtual learning in classrooms following a move by the ministry to give wireless Internet access to more than 10,000 primary and secondary schools nationwide.

To this, Chong said Kamalanathan was only stating the obvious that teachers should not use mobile phones when teaching.

“But if a teacher needs to take a call from a sick child at home then he or she can do so.

“Teachers certainly cannot use their mobile phones to send WhatsApp messages, to go on Facebook or shop when they are supposed to be teaching,” he said.

Chong said the ministry was not too rigid on this.

“We can’t be telling teachers that they must lock their mobile phones in their drawers once they get to school,” he said.

Chong also acknowledged that teachers may need to use their handphones for teaching.

“Some classrooms are already equipped with interactive boards or projectors and teachers are required to use their handphones during the teaching process,” he added.