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Maharashtra: Schools to delay class start timings

Updated on: 09 February,2024 07:06 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh |

Government circular suggests adjustments following concerns over the sleep patterns of younger children

Maharashtra: Schools to delay class start timings

In December 2023, Governor Ramesh Bais had urged the government to change school timings for young children. Representation Pic

Key Highlights

  1. Schools in Maharashtra will soon start classes from 9 am or later
  2. The circular directs schools to adjust their timings accordingly
  3. Governor Ramesh Bais urged the government to change school timings for young children

Schools in Maharashtra will soon start classes from 9 am or later for students up to Std IV, following a recent circular from the government. The circular, issued on Thursday evening, directs schools to adjust their timings accordingly, without specifying the implementation date.

Last December, Governor Ramesh Bais urged the government to change school timings for young children, citing concerns about disrupted sleep patterns. He emphasised the adverse effects of modern lifestyle habits on students' sleep quality and overall enthusiasm for learning.

Referencing the governor's remarks, the circular highlights lifestyle changes such as late bedtime routines and increased exposure to entertainment, contributing to inadequate sleep among students. The need for adjustments is underscored by a study conducted by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Maharashtra, which examined school timings across the state.

The study revealed that many schools, particularly private institutions, have start times scheduled after 7 am, affecting operational rhythms. It also noted challenges faced by parents and students due to early school start times, exacerbated during adverse weather conditions.

"To address these issues, changing school timings is necessary, ensuring they align with government office hours to alleviate traffic congestion," the circular advises. It suggests accommodating primary-level students in two-semester schools during timing adjustments, with a mandate for all schools to start classes at 9 am or later. Furthermore, adherence to teaching hours mandated by the Right to Education Act 2009 is emphasised, with the Director of Education (Primary) tasked with ensuring compliance across all schools in the state.

"Schools will comply with the circular, but when will this change take effect? Schools have two simple concerns: A. If a school's timing is currently 8.30 am and all logistics, including bus schedules and second shifts, are in place, will there be a 30-minute leeway? B. Many working parents prefer an early start so children can attend school before they go to the office. What should schools do if parents insist on an early timing? I believe the focus should be on children's bedtime rather than changing school timings. School-age children and teens need around 9.5 hours of sleep per night, which affects their focus and moodiness. Instead of altering timings, adjusting bedtime and timetables would be more beneficial, considering the potential stress changing school timings may cause for working families, particularly in a developing economy where two-income families are vital," said Dr Swati Popat Vats, president, Early Childhood Association and Association for Primary Education and Research. Contrary to the proposed changes, Vats references the historical precedent set by traditional Indian education systems like Gurukuls, which advocated for early starts. She suggests focusing on holistic development activities in the morning and cognitive tasks later in the day.

Additionally, Vats expresses concern about the current entry age for nursery students, advocating for a revision to promote healthier development.

Time to start classes suggested by govt for schools

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