Maha Govt Decision: No Classes Before 9am For Pre-Primary & Primary Section Children

Maha Govt Decision: No Classes Before 9am For Pre-Primary & Primary Section Children

‘Younger kids staying up late due to mobile, internet use, not well-rested at night’

Musab QaziUpdated: Friday, February 09, 2024, 10:29 AM IST
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MP: Govt, Private Schools In Gwalior-Chambal To Operate From 11 am As Severe Cold Grips Region | Representational image

Maharashtra: School will begin only after 9am in Maharashtra for kids in the pre-primary section and Classes 1-4, starting from the coming academic year, 2024-’25. The state government has directed that schools, both private and government-run, not have early morning classes for young students, to ensure that the latter get adequate sleep.

However, the hours of instruction cannot be shortened, despite this proposed change in the timetable. The idea was first mooted last December by Maharashtra Governor Ramesh Bais, who said that children are unable to get adequate sleep, as they stay up late in the night due to mobile and internet use. Taking a cue from the remarks, School Education Minister Deepak Kesarkar consulted education experts and parents about changing school timings for lower grades.

Decision announced on Thursday

The decision was announced in a government resolution on Thursday. According to the government, many students sleep late at night because of change in lifestyle, modes of entertainment and noise pollution in urban areas and are still forced to wake up early in the morning for school.

Inadequate sleep takes a toll on the physical and mental health of the students, according to the GR. “If they don’t get enough sleep at night, children are lethargic throughout the day. They lack the necessary enthusiasm required for study, which results in poor learning,” reads GR. It also mentions that children are more likely to contract diseases because of cold or rainy weather in the morning.

Most parents support decision

The government has justified the decision by claiming that the parents also get hassled getting their children ready for school early in the morning. Though the decision has the support of many parents and medical professionals, some experts believe that instead of opening schools later, the focus should be on weaning students away from mobile and other devices, the culprits behind disrupted sleep cycles.

They point out that changing the school time might give kids the ‘licence’ to further defer bedtime. School timings later in the morning will promote sleeping late, which isn’t particularly healthy, the experts feel. Some experts have also suggested that there cannot be a blanket ban on early morning classes. This is because, at the peak of summer, schools in most parts of the state are required to call it a day by noon, which means the academic day must begin by 7am daily.

Other hurdles in implementation

There are some other practical hurdles in the implementation of this proposal in the city, where most schools are run in multiple shifts due to a dearth of space. While many schools in the city already run their pre-primary and primary sections in the afternoon, some, especially those with high enrolment, have morning shifts for tots and lower grades. Changing this timetable might impact learning hours and outcomes, say experts. Readjusting transport facilities according to the new schedule may also prove a herculean task, as opening schools at 9am means dealing with rush hour traffic. The process will entail rejigging transport schedules and facilities for a huge number of children.

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