Several schools in Ho Chi Minh City have come up with an old-school solution to stop students from using smartphones in the classroom.
Students glued to their smartphone screens is a headache for schools, but the education institutions find it hard to impose a complete ban on the hi-tech devices in class.
“Students always say that they need the devices to keep contact with their parents,” said Nguyen Anh Tuan, headmaster of Le Van Tam Middle School in Binh Thanh District.
“The reality is they only use their smartphones to play games, surf the web and play on Facebook.”
To solve the problem, Le Van Tam has adopted a low-tech solution - installing some landline telephones in the school.
“Should students need to contact their parents, they just make a phone call the old-school way,” Tuan said.
Students, most of whom do not have a landline phone at home, seem intrigued by the idea.
“Whenever my afternoon class is over, I can telephone my grandfather to pick me up,” one of the students, Nguyen Thanh Trung, said.
“Everyone else does the same. This is very convenient.”
The school uses its own budget to cover the landline phone bill, which is only around VND700,000 (US$30) a month.
Tran Van On Middle School in District 1 also adopted the same solution in response to abusive use of smartphones among its students.
“The landline phone installation was carried out with general approval from parents and students,” said headmaster Le Thi Thanh Giang.
"Few students have been caught using smartphones in the classroom since we have the landline phones in the school."