Child Rights – POSCO, Child Labour Laws, NAPC, etc.

UNESCO endorses Banning Smartphones from Schools


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GEM Report

Mains level: Read the attached story


Central Idea

  • The UNESCO has released Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report 2023.
  • The report warned against the negative impacts of excessive screen time on children’s well-being and academic performance.

What is UNESCO?

Full Name United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Established November 16, 1945
Headquarters Paris, France
Director-General Audrey Azoulay
Purpose To promote peace and security through international cooperation in education, science, culture, and communication.
Functions – Promoting education for all

– Supporting scientific research

– Safeguarding cultural heritage

– Fostering freedom of expression

– Promoting media development

Membership Over 190 member states
World Heritage Sites Over 1,100 designated sites worldwide
Languages Official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish

Working languages: English, French

About Global Education Monitoring Report 2023

  • Established in 2002, the GEM Report is an editorially independent report, hosted and published by UNESCO.
  • At the 2015 World Education Forum, it received a mandate from 160 governments to monitor and report on progress on education SDG 4.0.
  • The report provides in-depth analysis and assessment of key education issues and challenges worldwide.
  • It also offers evidence-based insights and policy recommendations to improve education systems and outcomes.

Concerns raised in the report

  • Ills of digital learning: The report highlights that learning benefits diminish if technology is used excessively or without qualified teachers’ involvement.
  • Equitable Learning: The report reveals that inequities in learning emerge when instruction becomes exclusively remote, affecting vulnerable students, especially in rural areas.
  • Evidence-based Approach: The report urges for sound, impartial evidence on technology’s impact in education, as most available evidence originates from technology companies and may be biased.
  • Long-term Costs and Sustainability: Countries need to consider the long-term costs of digital learning and connectivity. The expansion of the Edtech market should not overshadow unmet basic education needs.
  • Threats posed by AI: The growth of generative AI and technology necessitates digital literacy and critical thinking skills.
  • Protecting Children’s Rights: During the pandemic, many online education initiatives risked infringing on children’s rights.

Key endorsements: Banning smartphones in schools

  • The report endorses banning smartphones in schools if technology integration does not improve learning or negatively affects student well-being.
  • Research indicates that banning mobile phones from schools can lead to better academic performance, especially among low-performing students.

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