SYDNEY, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Student use of mobile phones will be banned from all schools in the Australian state of Victoria starting next year in an effort to reduce distractions and tackle cyberbullying, State Minister for Education James Merlino announced on Wednesday.
From the start of the school day students will be required to switch off their phones and store them in lockers to be retrieved when school is finished.
"This will remove a major distraction from our classrooms, so that teachers can teach, and students can learn in a more focused, positive and supported environment," Merlino said.
McKinnon Secondary College in Melbourne had already adopted a ban on students using mobile phones, with teachers reporting that students are more attentive during class time and communicate more with each other in the playground.
"Our students are more focussed learners in the classroom without this distraction and we have observed improved social connections, relationships and interactions in the school during lunchtime," Principal Pitsa Binnion said.
Aside from improving student concentration and learning outcomes, it is hoped that the move will also limit cyberbullying in schools
According to research by youth mental health foundation, Headspace, more than half of young Australians have experienced cyberbullying
"All schools have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment in which to learn," psychologist and parenting expert Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said.
"This significant policy initiative is designed to ensure the well-being of young people while at school, free of distraction and potentially cyberbullying."