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Maharashtra: Educationists displeased with proposal to change school timings

December 20, 2023

The Maharashtra government’s proposal to commence school class only post 9 am from 2024 has largely invoked criticism by the educationists’ community.

Maharashtra’s education minister Deepak Kesarkar has said that a decision would be taken after having consultations with a committee that has been constituted to investigate the issue.

The government is in the process of streamlining the pre-primary sections encompassing all classes between nursery to class 2. As part of the same, a committee of pediatricians has been appointed to discuss the need to start classes late to ensure children get sufficient sleep.

However, this announcement was met with criticism from educationists citing logistics issues.

Francis Joseph, educationist and India lead, Global Independent Schools Association took to X (formerly Twitter) to express concerns.

“Many schools run double shift. If the morning shift gets delayed, then either the number of hours for the second shift need to be extended to late evening or weekly holiday being curtailed, thereby hurting learning hours and outcomes in a school,” he wrote seeking to know whether office timings would be altered to reduce the peak our traffic. Joseph questions whether starting schools late will be like issuing licenses to children to sleep late which could in-turn have an impact on learning. The possibility of having to work on weekends and the curtailing of work-life balance for schoolteachers was also questioned.

Dr. Swati Popat Vats, President of the Early Childhood Association said that changing the timings of school only to let children sleep late sets a bad precedent. “This is another outcome of the pandemic. With work from home adults had erratic schedules and allowed children to sleep and wake up late. The same continued even after schools reopened. We must address this rather than allow children to sleep and wake up late.

“We acknowledge that there are states where timings are altered due to extreme winter and summer temperatures. That is understandable. Research recommends that a later commencement time is suggested for teens as their brains are geared up after 10 am. Typically for the younger children, they are awake between 6 to 8 am and have a better grasp in the early hours. Worldwide, schools start between 6m and 9pm.”

Also read: Karnataka: Private schools oppose school timings imposition

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