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Government of Maharastra Mandates Pre-Primary and Primary School Classes to Start at 9 AM

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Primary School Students
 
The education department of Government of Maharashtra has announced that pre-primary and primary classes in schools will commence no earlier than 9 AM from academic year 2024-25. A Government Resolution (GR) was issued on Thursday, June 13, directing the schools to start classes for pre-primary students till class 4 at or after 9 AM, irrespective of their board affiliation.
The decision has been made taking into account the changing lifestyles wherein children end up sleeping late at night, and get insufficient sleep if they are forced to come to school early in the morning. This compromises their physical and mental health, and also stunts their overall growth. Several studies have also shown decreased cognitive function and concentration among children who do not get sufficient sleep.
Another benefit of later school is for the parents who struggle with transportation early in the morning during foggy or rainy days. Later school will help them manage their timings much better.

Parents, Experts Concerned with new changes

However, there are several matters of concern. Critics have stated that this decision will push the school timings of post primary students later during the day, who will end up being busy with school till evening leaving them no time for pursuing hobbies or extra curricular activities, as their evenings would then be spent in completing the homework or self-study.
Some parents have also expressed their concerns as the schools their children go to are close to their home, requiring minimal commute, but they commute for more than an hour for their workplace. Their office hours commence from 9 AM and the new school timings mean that they have to leave for office earlier than their children have to leave for school. The abrupt announcement has them scrambling for making new arrangements at such a short notice.
Furthermore, considering the fact that the hours of operation for most of the offices start at 9 AM, roads at this time are already busy. With school traffic joining the office going traffic, this could add to the traffic congestion issues in big cities causing loss of resources and time.
Some experts have said that the new schedule can prove counterproductive and even harmful for several children especially in the regions with extreme weather conditions, as it could expose children to harsh midday heat. This is a problem especially because majority of schools in India are not equipped with air conditioners or coolers.
While the decision is made in a positive light, the change in schedule can have major implications in the life of children and their families. It is imperative that the education department work with schools, parents, teachers and all the other stakeholders to maximise the efficiency in education.