Know your rights: Mobile phones are not allowed at school

Based on the premise that the use of mobile phones incites distraction from studies, Ministerial Instructions N°001/MINEDUC/2018 of 11/07/2018 prohibiting students from using mobile telephones were instituted.

The students concerned in this case are those in nursery, primary and secondary school. According to article 2 of the Ministerial Instructions, public, government and private schools are expected to adhere. The instruction also applies to all schools operating in Rwanda even if they are using foreign curricula. Technical and vocational schools which are below the level of higher education are also included.

As long as a student is on school premises even if it is during extracurricular activities, he/she is not allowed to use a phone. This is according to article 3 of Ministerial Instructions N°001/MINEDUC/2018 of 11/07/2018 prohibiting students from using mobile telephones.

Article 4 of Ministerial Instructions N°001/MINEDUC/2018 of 11/07/2018 prohibiting students from using mobile telephones says that it is the responsibility of school management and parents to ensure that students do not use phones at school.

To this end, school management and parents have to help students understand why it’s risky to use mobile telephones at school. The risks cited include attraction to drugs and other misbehaviour attitudes. To further enforce the instruction, school management is expected to check students to prevent entry of mobile telephones on school premises, while parents must ensure that their children do not take mobile telephones to school.

Failure of public school management to carry out its responsibilities results in administrative sanctions on the school head teacher. This is according to article 5 of Ministerial Instructions N°001/MINEDUC/2018 of 11/07/2018 prohibiting students from using mobile telephones.  If the school is privately operated, or operates in Rwanda with foreign curricula, the measures may be as severe as closure.

A student who fails to observe the provisions of Ministerial Instructions prohibiting students from using mobile telephones is to be dealt with by way of holding a joint meeting between the school and the parent. During this meeting, the Ministerial Instruction statuses reminding the student of the risks associated with using mobile telephones at school. Thereafter, the student will sign a commitment indicating that he/she will not repeat the fault.

If the student carries the mobile phone to school again after the joint meeting with the school and his/her parent, he/she is dismissed from school. 

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