San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Teachers can’t take cellphones from students, says Costa Rican Education Ministry

Ah, the good old days, when teachers could flip out over flip phones in the classroom.

Alas, no more. Costa Rica’s daily La Nación reported Friday that public school teachers cannot take away cellphones from students in the classroom, according to a new Education Ministry policy.

Students aren’t actually permitted to use cellphones and smartphones in the classroom, except for educational purposes, but teachers don’t seem to have much recourse to stop a texting student under the new rules.

“The teacher cannot take away the phone because it is a private good. It’s against the law. Its use is permitted inside the classroom only for educational use, supervised by the teacher,” Kerly León, head of students rights at the Education Ministry, told La Nación.

The interview did not mention how to incorporate SnapChat or Candy Crush into the curriculum.

While some holdouts aren’t happy about smartphone use in school, the U.S. National Education Association has noted a growing trend in favor of loosening restrictions on them. In 2014, for example, Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed a 2006 ban on their use in New York City public schools — the largest school district in the United States.

If a student in a Costa Rican school continues to use his or her phone during class time, teachers are asked to tattle on them to their parents.

Contact Zach Dyer at

Log in to comment

Monica Miranda

I don’t think students should use their phone – they rahter should start to use their brain! And cellphones i the classroom are a lack of respect – RESPECT is the favorite word in Costa Rica but it does not seem to me that many people know the meaning of it….

1 0
Dan Gibson

Very smart — God forbid they would have to turn them in upon entering the school and – get them back at the end of the 4 hour session — and actually ”learn something”!

1 0
J-p A Maldonado

Just throw them out of the classroom, and then have the class take a snap quiz based on the previous day’s lecture. A Darwinian solution to the problem.

1 0
Deontae Davis

The Education Ministry doesn’t care if the kids to fail.
No discipline, no learning.

1 0

Tell their parents? How ridiculous. The mere sound, let alone use, of a cellphone in class is not only disrespectful to the teacher and likely indicative of a kid who’d rather Facebook than learn, it is an inappropriate intrusion on the rights of other students who do want to learn. Blessed are those kids whose families can afford to send them to private schools where learning is still the priority.

0 0
Mark Kahle

New York City schools are some of the most costly in the world. They also have an extremely low ability to actually teach anyone anything.

Yep, that’s the example I’d want followed.

0 0