Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report

PNG: School suspends 280 students over use of mobile phones

Schoolgirls in Papua New Guinea have been suspended over the use of mobile phones. Photo:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Item: 7937

Johnny Poiya

PORT MORESBY (PNG Post-Courier / Pacific Media Watch):  The Notre Dame Secondary School in the Western Highlands Province has suspended 280 students over the use of mobile phones, the PNG Post-Courier reported today.

The school, run by the Catholic Sisters of Notre Dame, has a ban policy on the use of mobile phones, music devices, cameras and laptops.

While schools around the country differ in policies on the use of electronic devices, especially mobile phones by students, the all-girls Notre Dame Secondary has a very strict policy on the usage of electronic devices - especially after classes, in the night and over the weekends. 

While the ban policy is in place, the 280 students were alleged to have secretly kept and used the handheld gadgets and other electronic devices. 

Deputy principal John Kumiye and Provincial Catholic Health Secretary Andrew Wan yesterday said the use of mobile phones, especially during the night study times and the weekends, disturbed the girls. 

A meeting was held recently with the students on the issue and the administration decided that all mobile phones would be collected and kept by the administration and would only be given to the girls to be used on a need basis and returned to be locked up again.

But about 20 students who came into the Post-Courier's Mt Hagen bureau claimed that all phones confiscated where either smashed or burnt, adding a single pay phone was kept for students to use by the administration. 

Wan said: “Regardless of the ban policy and the meeting, the girls kept on using their mobile phones. The school acted to keep the girls from being disturbed.”

A meeting with the suspended students and their parents with the administration took place yesterday and the 280 girls were put on probation after being suspended last Friday.

Anglicare PNG yesterday said the widespread usage of mobile phones has led to much more convenient and effective communication. It has also led to rise in prostitution, carnal knowledge, fornication, adultery, domestic violence and rise in crime and "more dangerously", HIV AIDS.

The newspaper's Mt Hagen operations manager Cliff Rombok said it was becoming a widespread phenomenon in schools around the country that female students were lured out of their studies and school grounds by men through the use of mobile phones. 

Downloading of pornographic material in mobile phones and laptops has also become widespread.


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