Saudi Arabia bans mobile phones in schools

Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education has banned students from using mobile phones in schools, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

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The move was taken less than a week after allowing students to take their phones to schools to check their vaccination status via the Tawakkalna app.

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Now the ministry directed school administration to follow up the daily updates of students health status on the Tawakkalna Web, while new students in the school or recovered students must produce a print out of the health status on Tawakkalna system, or send a copy of it to the mobile phone of the school administration.

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The ministry, however, said school administrations have the right to allow students to bring mobile phones out of necessity, provided it is kept with the administration.

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The ministry emphasised to all education staff, students, their parents and others to completely prevent filming in schools and educational facilities, as it is a violation. It called on everyone to abide by the instructions issued by the Public Prosecution.

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Earlier, a prosecution official warned against risking penalties by taking photos or filming others in school and posting them on social media or keeping them.

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“Anyone committing cybercrimes either by violating others’ privacy through the misuse of camera-fitted mobile phones or similar devices, or defaming others through the use of different electronic gadgets will be punished by up to one year in prison and a fine reaching SR500,000,” spokesperson for public prosecution Majid Al Dosaimani said.

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If the offender is a minor, penalties stipulated in the juvenile law, issued three years ago, will be applied.

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He urged people harmed by such malpractices to file a legal complaint.

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The new academic year started in the kingdom on Sunday with a revival of in-person classes after suspension of more than a year due to COVID-19.

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