Maha pre-primary, primary schools till Class 4 to start classes at 9 am from AY 2024-2025 (Lead)
Mumbai, Feb 8 (IANS) In a major initiative, the Maharashtra government on Thursday directed that all pre-primary and primary schools till Class 4 in the state – public or private – should start their classes from 9 am onwards from the next Academic Year (2024-2025), in the interests of students' health.
The decision, announced in a circular issued by the School Education & Sports Department, comes over two months after Governor Ramesh Bais had raised concerns over the early morning schools for the children, who are below the age of 10.
The government’s move was prompted after studying the timing change proposals and conducting a survey among parents and teachers, academic experts and others, who had expressed the need to reconsider the early school hours - from 7 a.m. in cities and rural areas.
"Those schools, having timings of their pre-primary to Std. 4th classes before 9 a.m., should change their timings to start the classes at 9 am or later," said the circular.
While saying that most schools should not face difficulties in adhering to the teaching hours prescribed in the Right to Education Act, 2009, the circular advised those school management facing problems in this should approach the District Education Officer concerned to work out a solution.
The circular pointed out some pre-primary/primary schools are starting their classes from 7 a.m. onwards which was adversely affecting the health of the children. The reasons for this are attributed to changed lifestyles in the modern era, sophisticated means of entertainment, social, cultural, and religious aspects that make people retire late.
However, since children fail to get adequate sleep, it has a negative effect on their mental and physical health as they have to get up early and rush for school.
Even parents and teachers complained that children don’t get proper sleep, are unable to get up and go to school in the morning, thus they remain fatigued and lazy through the day.
This was particularly the case in monsoon and winter when the child has to be readied, prepare his lunch box, and then get dropped to school, leading to stress even among parents, especially those who are working.
Maharashtra has nearly 1.09 lakh schools comprising government, private, aided, unaided and other categories across the state catering to over 2.25 crore students in all standards - pre-primary, primary, secondary, and higher secondary.
Last December, at a public event, the Governor had called upon education authorities to consider changing the school timings to enable students to enjoy sufficient sleep. He said that in modern times, everybody’s sleep patterns have changed, especially kids, who sleep only after midnight, but must wake up early to go to school, thus losing on their minimum ‘sleep quota’.
Bais urged the education authorities to look into this aspect, besides promoting ‘book-less’ schools, ‘e-classes’ and ranking according to their quality to lighten the load of education on the student community.
The Governor stressed the need to make education “more enjoyable” for school-goers with “less academic homework” and “emphasis on sports and creative activities” for the all-round development of the students.