LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales strongly complained on Monday about the use of cell phones in schools by students and teachers, and the sale of marijuana in some of the country’s educational institutions.
“In the classrooms, zero cell phones,” he warned at the opening of the school year with a ceremony held in the western Bolivian city of Oruro.
The president expressed “enormous concern” about the “unacceptable use of cell phones” in schools, which in some cases have called for police and judicial intervention.
Morales cited apps for these mobile devices that are “diabolical games,” which he considered damaging for both children and teens.
The use of these apps for games like Ouija, with which one can supposedly contact the spirit world, have been denounced in schools of such countries as Brazil and Colombia.
He also spoke of complaints he has received about some teachers who, while “their students are blessedly listening, are talking on their cell phones.”
Morales said that these phones can be used during recreation time at schools or for educational reasons such as research, because “I’m not prohibiting them.”
He did say, however, that the Education Ministry has rules that regulate the use of mobile phones.
Specifically, it bans their “arbitrary” use by students and teachers in the classroom because “they interrupt the normal development” of the class, while their use for school tasks must be “planned and approved” by the educational community.
The president also spoke about the sale of marijuana at schools by “some families,” a practice that will have to be “eradicated” by the police.