Mobile phones will be banned in schools to improve student performance, New Zealand's new Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says - one of the measures he intends to implement in his first 100 days of government.
"We are going to ban phones across New Zealand in schools," Mr Luxon told reporters in Auckland on Friday.
"We want our kids to learn and we want our teachers to teach."
The announced ban - a measure partially or totally applied in schools in Australia, Canada, China, France, the United Kingdom and several Asian countries - aims to help children and young people focus on their studies.
Education Minister Erica Stanford said current indicators revealed more than half of 15-year-olds in New Zealand did not meet basic literacy and numeracy standards.
A United Nations report published in July recommended banning phones in schools as one way to improve student performance and mitigate the impact of cyberbullying.
However, not all experts agree.
A scientific study by the Swedish universities of Stockholm and Sodertorn published in 2020 showed progress was minimal, while some educators said the devices could sometimes be useful in class.
Mr Luxon's government also intends to reform the school curriculum, including changes to English and mathematics, imposing the teaching of one hour per day of reading, and writing and mathematics tracks in primary and secondary schools from next year.
NZ was ranked 11th, 12th and 27th respectively in reading, science, and mathematics in the world ranking of the 2018 International Student Assessment carried out by the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development.
Mr Luxon, whose National Party formed an alliance with liberal right-wing party ACT and the nationalist New Zealand First to govern, also faces the challenge of implementing some controversial agreements with one of its allies on guidelines on gender and sexuality.
Australian Associated Press