One of the highlighted problems in education in Serbia is early school leaving. It is not just that kids leave school after high school, but there are also many kids that put an end to their studying after elementary school. Poverty and uneducated parents who neglect their children's education are usual causes in this matter. Since students like that often appear in our school, we tried to learn how that problem is resolved in European countries. We were curious to see how this subject is treated in an advanced educational system, on the one hand, and in an educational system that is still in development process, on the other hand. In that way, we chose Norway and Portugal as countries that are ahead of us in solving the issue.
We had already pointed out that parents participation in kids’ education is very important and started to take actions to improve parental involvement in kids' learning.
While we were preparing for our mobility in Peniche, Portugal, we asked our partner to send us some documents about the rights and duties that parents and students have in their school. Among other issues in these documents, we found out that “Mobile phones and other electronic equipment found in the classroom/library, authorized by the teacher, must be confiscated, delivered to the Directorate and, subsequently, handed over to the custodian”. So, we were curious how does it work in practice.
It is hard to take away mobile phones from students in our school, and teachers often must explain why smartphones are not allowed during their classes. Some students disobey the teachers, since teachers are not supported by kids' parents in this matter. However, the issue is very tiring and disappointing for the teachers.
When we had a meeting with the representatives of Parents Association of Agrupamento de Escolas D. Luís de Ataíde in Peniche, we asked them about using smartphones during classes. Parents said that, because of their busy daily schedule, they need to contact their kids via cell phones to know when the child is off school, but they absolutely disapprove using phones during the classes if it is not for learning purposes. They strictly allow their kids to make phone calls only after school or in an exceptional situation. Our colleagues confirmed to us that their students do not use smartphones during the classes if the teacher does not ask for that.
Now, after we came back from Portugal, we are thinking to provide informative course for parents, about disadvantageous behavior of their kids caused by uncontrolled use of the smartphones. We have to improve parents’ participation in this topic to get more motivated students.
Smartphone is a new challenge in school life, which did not exist when we were students, so, we have to deal with that issue carefully.