Hyderabad: In a move that is expected to have a far-reaching impact on schools and students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has prohibited unmonitored use of electronic communication devices in schools and on school buses.
In a circular dated August 18 issued by the Board to all schools, it said that electronic communication devices, including those that provide connection to the Internet apart from smartphones, laptops and tablets, were not to be permitted in schools and on school buses without prior permission and verification of school authorities.
The circular, which assumes significance in the context of growing concerns of the impact of Internet-based games like the notorious Blue Whale Challenge, said that if children use the Internet without safety awareness, they may fall prey to illegal activity or abuse such as cyber bullying, fraud or something even more serious.
Schools have also been asked to educate students for safe and effective use of the Internet; make children aware of the rule for acceptable use of the Internet and to display these rules; block various types of unsolicited contents available on Internet; configure computers with parental control filters and antivirus software and to deploy a digital surveillance system.
The circular further asks schools to make children using the Internet to work in highly visible areas of the school; supervise and monitor all online activities; and to make aware and sensitise teachers, school staff and parents on Internet safety norms.
Interestingly, the circular has also asked schools to avoid digital and video images of individual students/teachers on school websites, apart from drafting a school policy on safe use of electronic devices and implement it.
Reminding schools of its July 2009 circular restricting use of mobile phones in schools, the CBSE, however, said that for the safety of children, a mobile phone should be made available in each school bus to deal with unprecedented emergency, which should be a basic model without Internet facility and data storage.