France will enforce a ban on children’s mobile phone use at school from 3 September next year, the French education minister says.
Jean-Michel Blanquer said: “We’re working on this – various methods may be used.” An existing ban is not applied uniformly in France.
Some French education experts were sceptical about Mr Blanquer’s pledge, saying school resources were stretched.
The minister said pupils’ phones could be kept in lockers during lessons.
The deputy leader of a French teaching union, Valérie Sipahimalani, told the daily Le Monde that the current ban “is extremely difficult to implement”.
“A teacher doesn’t have the right to search pupils, nor to confiscate a phone, as it isn’t a dangerous object,” she said.
The French education code says mobile phones are banned “during all lessons and in places stipulated by the school’s internal rules”. Those places are typically libraries, canteens and school gyms.
‘Difficult to implement’
Mr Blanquer said phones should however be available for some teaching purposes and for emergencies.
In his presidential election manifesto Emmanuel Macron pledged to enforce a ban on children using mobile phones at school. He won the election in May and his liberal party La République en Marche has a parliamentary majority.
In England schools are free to decide what rules, if any, they apply to mobile phone use.
Many English schools already ban children from using phones in classes, but allow it during breaks.