First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Back to school for French kids... without their phones



Back to school for French kids… without their phones

Two high school students use their mobile phones while having a break at a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam 19 September 2013. Vietnam had over 131 million mobile phone subscribers in 2012, which is an increase of 3.42 per cent compared with the previous year, according to a recent report by the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communication. EPA/LUONG THAI LINH
03 Sep 2018 0

Texting under the table should be a thing of the past when French children return to class Monday following a nationwide ban on mobile phones in schools.

The ban, a campaign pledge of President Emmanuel Macron’s, was brought in under a law passed in July which also banishes tablets and smart watches from French primary and junior high schools.

High schools, taking students aged 15 to 18, will also be allowed to initiate partial or total bans as they reopen after the summer break, though they will not be obligatory.

Proponents say the law, which has prompted vigorous debate, will reduce distraction in the classroom, combat bullying and encourage children to be more active during recess.

Nearly 90 percent of French adolescents aged between 12 and 17 have a mobile phone, and supporters hope the ban will help limit the spread of violent and pornographic content among children.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has hailed the legislation as “a law for the 21st century” that would improve discipline among France’s 12 million schoolchildren.

“Being open to technologies of the future doesn’t mean we have to accept all their uses,” he said in June when the bill was going through parliament.


– PR ‘stunt’ –


But critics have dismissed the ban as a public relations exercise and predicted it will be difficult to apply.

The government has left schools to decide how to implement the new rules, recommending that they store students’ phones in lockers during the day — but some schools don’t have them.

Research shows that in French schools that had already declared their own ban, many pupils admitted to breaking the rules and using their phones anyway.

Schools all over the world have struggled to adapt to the rise of pocket-sized devices as parents grow increasingly anxious about the amount of time their children spend glued to the screen.

In 2015 New York Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted a ban on phones in his city’s schools on security grounds, saying parents should be allowed to stay in touch with their children.

Macron, a 40-year-old centrist, pledged widespread reforms when he was elected and education has been no exception.

Along with the mobile phone ban, he has halved class sizes in high-priority areas to 12 in a bid to narrow the massive gap in attainment between children from poor and wealthy families.

The scheme, which covered children aged six to seven this year, will be expanded in this new school year to cover those aged seven to eight.

At the other end of the age spectrum, a shake-up of the higher education system making university access more selective prompted a wave of student sit-ins this year.  DM


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted