‘Need to go’: Liberal frontbencher calls for a ban of mobile phones in schools off the back of concerning NAPLAN results

The Coalition has called for mobile phones to be banned in schools following the disastrous NAPLAN results.

NAPLAN data has revealed 13.5 per cent of Year 9 boys failed to meet the national minimum standard (NMS) for reading, compared to 92.9 per cent for girls, a drop across the NMS of the group to 89.6 percent.

The emergency results show a 3.2 percent drop since national testing began in 2008 and a 2.2 percent drop from pre-COVID levels in 2019.

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Former education minister and former Liberal advocate Dan Tehan said the scores underscored the need for students to have strong literacy skills before leaving primary school.

He said it was time to introduce ban on mobile phones in classrooms.

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“Cell phones need to go out of schools and go back to basics,” Mr Tehan told Sky News Australia’s Peter Stefanovic.

“Music should be taught in every primary school across the country with a focus on getting children to be able to read and write by the time they leave primary school.

“We encourage governments to include the words and we will continue to work from the opposition because it is very important to give children the skills they need to read and write.”

The results show that there is a similar gap between boys and girls in literacy and numeracy.

Year 9 female students significantly outperformed their male counterparts in written tests with only 10.7 per cent of girls failing the NMS compared to 20.8 per cent of boys.

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In the math test, the gap was small as 4.3 percent of women and 5.6 percent of men scored below the national standard.

In terms of national results, Year 9 students improved in three areas from last year’s data but regressed in reading and math from pre-COVID tests.

Mr Tehan said the “clear” results showed the state and local response to the global pandemic had affected education standards.

“Decisions to close schools during an epidemic are wrong,” he said.

“I think all the education ministers at the state and territory need to take that decision very seriously and I think it has really affected the boys.”

But Federal Education Minister Jason Clare was less concerned about the results, telling ABC News the findings were “better than I expected”.

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This year’s NAPLAN tests are the first since major closures in Melbourne and Sydney.

Mr Clare said there were “horrendous predictions” about the consequences of such actions but “they haven’t happened”.

“We have seen very good results across most of the sectors,” said the Minister of Education.

“There are some students, especially in Year 9, we’ve seen the cut. That’s the concern. I think part of that is COVID.

He also spoke of the “tapering off” in the standards of boys compared to girls and said that the decline had slowed in the previous three years, but the results were “very stable”. only 14 years from the beginning of the experiment.


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