Mobile phones to be banned from Dutch classrooms next year

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches will be largely banned from classrooms in the Netherlands from Jan. 1, 2024, the Dutch government said on Tuesday, in a bid to limit distractions during lessons.

Devices will only be allowed if they are specifically needed, for instance during lessons on digital skills, for medical reasons or for people with disabilities.

“Even though mobile phones are intertwined with our lives, they do not belong in the classroom,” education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf said in a statement.

“Students need to be able to concentrate and need to be given the opportunity to study well. Mobile phones are a disturbance, scientific research shows. We need to protect students against this.”

The ban is the result of an agreement between the ministry, schools and related organisations.

Schools can find their own way to organise the ban, Dijkgraaf said, but legal rules will follow if this does not yield enough results by the summer of 2024.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by David Goodman and Emma Rumney)