Should students be allowed to use mobile phones on university and college campuses or for that matter in their college hostels across the state? The recent rustication of five students by the Gujarat Vidyapith for using cell phones in their hostel has triggered such a debate.
A residential university with 1,000 post-graduate students at its Ahmedabad campus and an equal number of students in its undergraduate courses on its two campuses in Gandhinagar district, Gujarat Vidyapith banned the use of cellphones by students even in its hostel six years ago.
However, there is no such ban on their use by teachers and other staff on college campus or hostels. They only have to ensure that they keep it switched off or in silent mode while taking class.
Earlier, students found carrying cell phones were allowed to go scotfree with mere warnings. This was the first time that the university has gone to the extent of rusticating five students for violating the ban. The university does not have the provision of imposing a fine which increases the financial burden on parents.
The main reason behind the ban, according to its Gujarat Vidyapith Registrar Rajendra Khimani, is that “cellphones are misused more they are used by the students”. According to him, the majority of his students opposing the ban come from urban areas.
As for students wanting to keep in touch with their family members, Gujarat Vidyapith has installed landline phones in its hostels. “We have also given landline and cellphone numbers of the wardens and principals to the parents so that they can call their wards in case of an emergency,” Khimani maintained. “We attend phone calls even during the night. There is no need for students to carry cellphones,” he added.
Nirma University has banned carrying of cellphones by students on its campus.
Other university heads are, however, of the opinion that while it is justified to ban use of cellphones by students in classrooms, there is no need for such bans in hostels. “Ban on mobile phones is perfectly okay in classrooms,” points out Dr Mukul Shah, acting V-C of Gujarat University,