Tamil Nadu: Govt Order Plans To Prohibit Students From Using Cellphones In College Premises
As per a circular issued by the Directorate of Collegiate Education (DCE), cell phones will soon be banned across all arts, science and other colleges in Tamil Nadu that come under DCE’s purview. The circular, which was reportedly issued earlier this month prohibits college-goers from using their mobile phones within the college premises.
Cell phone ban in Tamil Nadu colleges
According to The Hindu, the circular was issued by R. Sarumathi, the director of DCE which has been sent to all Regional Joint Directors of Collegiate Education (RJD). It states that the ban applies to all government, government-aided and self-financing institutions. The circular also states that decision was taken as per the advice of the Higher Education Secretary (in charge).
An official quoted by the daily said, “In co-education colleges, we have received complaints that boys were taking videos and pictures of girl students. Mobile phones are also occasionally used for malpractices during examinations.” However, IIT Madras is exempted from this new imposition of restricting the use of mobile phones. The official said that unlike students in other colleges, the IIT Madras students know how to use mobile phones in a reasonable manner.
In 2005, a similar ban was introduced by Anna University in its campus, however, after facing opposition from students, the varsity decided to relax the rules by restricting the usage of mobile phones in classrooms only. A senior official said that since restricting the use of mobile phones in classrooms will be difficult, they expect the students to not carry cell phones at all.
A debate over the cell phone
However, this ban has started a debate over the need for a move like this, considering the fact that mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives. A student of Journalism quoted by NDTV said, “Most of our work is done via phones. We have to use the internet for almost everything. In such a case, a ban on the use of mobile phones in college does not seem right at all.”
Similarly, some professors said that students who are in colleges are adults and they should be taught to use technology in a responsible manner. M Andrew Sesuraj, an assistant professor at Loyola College, told NDTV, “I personally allow my students to use Google during my class. I train them to use camera mobiles to document short films. I help them to go live with the department programmes and lectures through Facebook. Instead of teaching the students to responsibly use the modern gadgets, this order will create hurdles for creativity.”
Parents also raised their concerns over the ban as mobiles phones are an effective way of communication between guardians and the students who often travel long distances for going to their colleges. S Arumainathan of Tamil Nadu Students’ Parents Welfare Association told the Times Of India, “With cell phones, students can inform their parents of their whereabouts or any delays. Parents will now have to wait anxiously till their wards get home. The government can regulate their usage in classrooms, labs and other areas in such a way that there is no disturbance.”
While the circular has not mentioned a deadline for the imposition of the ban across Tamil Nadu colleges, DCE officials have said that colleges will have to comply as soon as they receive the communication from the Regional Joint Directors.