Hwa Chong Institution restricts smartphone use; no gaming allowed from 7am to 2pm

In a letter sent to parents, Hwa Chong Institution says it has adjusted its rules regarding mobile devices in order to create a better learning culture.
In a letter sent to parents, Hwa Chong Institution says it has adjusted its rules regarding mobile devices in order to create a better learning culture.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) has introduced new rules restricting smartphone use by its students this month.

Shin Min Daily News on Saturday (May 5) published a photo of a letter sent to parents and guardians by HCI's principal on April 30, informing them of the news.

The letter, which is in Chinese, says the school has adjusted its rules regarding mobile devices in order to create a better learning culture.

"From May 2, students are not allowed to use mobile devices for gaming or to view games between 7am and 2pm," says the letter. The Straits Times understands there is also a version in English.

It noted that students often use their devices for such purposes before flag-raising and during recess.

The school has also discussed the dangers of smartphone addiction with students.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, HCI's principal Pang Choon How said on Monday that students between secondary one and four are still allowed to bring their mobile devices to school.


The letter noted that students often use their devices to play or view games before flag-raising and during recess. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

However, they cannot use their devices to play games or watch gaming videos from 7am to 2pm.

"Students are also advised to refrain from using their mobile devices while walking around the school premises, as this would pose a risk to their own physical safety," said Mr Pang.

"The school leaders have communicated the rationale and implementation of this new mobile device regulation to all our students. The school will continue to allow the use of mobile devices for the purpose of teaching and learning in class, which will be guided by our teachers."

He added that HCI aims to create "a more conducive learning environment and promote a healthy cyber culture through responsible use of digital technologies".

A spokesman for the Ministry of Education (MOE) told ST that it provides schools "with a set of guidelines in the formulation of school rules and overall management of discipline".

"Within this set of guidelines, schools may formulate their own rules based on their context and needs," said the MOE spokesman, without elaborating.