MOBILE phones will be banned from classrooms in Madrid from the beginning of the next academic year.
The Community of Madrid government decision to stop children from using their mobiles during class time will affect some 800,000 pupils in the region’s more than 1,700 publicly funded schools from September 2020 onwards.
The Madrid regional Education department said the initiative was aimed at improving academic results, especially among schoolchildren experiencing the greatest difficulties in their studies.
A further objective of the prohibition, the department said, is to tackle issues of cyberbullying in Madrid’s schools.
Children who need to have their phones with them for reasons of health or disability will be exempt from the ban.
Madrid is the third region in Spain to issue a decree to stop children using mobiles in class, following in the footsteps of Galicia and Castilla-La Mancha.
A Spanish National Institute of Statistics Survey published in October revealed that 22 per cent of children in Spain have a mobile phone. The percentage increases with age: 38 per cent of 11-year olds have their own mobile, 64 per cent of 12-year olds and 84 per cent of 13-year olds, while for 15-year olds the rate is 94 per cent.