Smartphone Addiction and its Impact in Egypt’s Classrooms

Editors’ note: Journalist Magdy Samaan visited two urban neighborhoods in Egypt, where he saw how the religious men and women who run the local Catholic schools provide a reassuring presence — through their educative approach and current teaching methods — to parents struggling to provide the best for their children. In this audio report, Magdy provides additional coverage on an issue he was not able to fit into his feature report, “Reassuring Presence” in the December issue of ONE — the impact of smartphone addiction in the classroom. Listen to his report below. A full transcript follows.

This is Magdy Samaan speaking from Cairo, Egypt. In this issue of ONE magazine, we did a story about two schools related to Catholic orders: Don Boco School in Karmus, Alexandria, and Notre Dame School in Ezbet el Nakhl, Cairo.

Both schools are located in busy working-class neighborhoods. The common challenge facing them, as well as most schools in Egypt, is the challenge imposed by smartphone addiction among children, which keeps them distracted in classrooms.

What attracted my attention is a contrast between the library and the smartphones in Notre Dame School in Ezbet el Nakhl. It is a busy school and a very busy neighborhood. All rooms and spaces are noisy except for the library. The librarian was sitting in a quiet room full of books covered in dust.

This generation does not read the paper books anymore, and instead they show more interest in anything shown to them on a screen. The school administration struggles to keep the smartphones out of the class, but this makes children nervous and hyperactive.

When CNEWA donated to Don Bosco School in Alexandria to launch TV screens in classrooms, teachers told me it made a big difference. Children have begun to show more attention to the educational material presented on the screen.

For this reason, the Egyptian Ministry of Education has replaced paper books with tablets for high school students recently and private schools are trying to use this modern-day technology for the interest of children, such as launching TV screens in the classrooms and using computers more and more.

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