UNESCO has appealed for Caribbean countries like Antigua and Barbuda, to be part of a global ban on the use of mobile phones in schools.
A New UN report is raising concerns about the excessive use of smartphones and its impacts on learning.
UNESCO wants countries to carefully consider how technology is used in schools and emphasizes the need for a “human-centered vision” where digital technology serves as a tool rather than taking precedence.
“We know that vast amounts of data are being used without the appropriate regulation, so this data ends up being used for other non-educational purposes, commercial purposes and that’s of course a violation of rights that needs to be regulated,” UNESCO’s Director of Global Education Monitoring, Manos Antoninis
Antoninis, raised privacy concerns, warning about the danger of data leaks in educational tech, saying that only 16 percent of countries guarantee data privacy in the classroom, by law.
The disparities in digital learning were another aspect highlighted by UNESCO in their very detailed report
They used the Covid-19 pandemic to bring out the point that half a billion students worldwide were left out due to the shift to online-only tuition.
UNESCO believes that if Caribbean countries set their standards for the way they use technology, it will not be able to replace in-person teacher-led instructions.
Meanwhile, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said “The digital revolution holds immeasurable potential but, just as warnings have been voiced for how it should be regulated in society, similar attention must be paid to the way it is used in education,”
“Its use must be for enhanced learning experiences and the well-being of students and teachers, not to their detriment.”
UNESCO strongly believes that the evolution of technology is “putting strain on education systems to adapt and that digital literacy and critical thinking are increasingly important, particularly with the growth of generative artificial intelligence (AI)”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world shifted to remote learning however many students fell through the crack and were left behind because of inadequate internet access and other personal issues.