Change in school timing: DSEK succumbs to bureaucratic pressure, puts students lives at risk
Srinagar: The government decision to revise the school timing from May 01 has evoked widespread criticism from the parents and other stakeholders. The government is accused of playing with the lives of the students to ensure hassle free movement of the bureaucrats. On Monday, the government changed the timings of Government and private schools which will come into effect from May 01. As per the new timing, the schools within the Srinagar Municipal limits shall functional from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm while as the schools outside Srinagar Municipal limits will be functional from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm.
The change in the school timing coincides with the Durbar Move from Jammu to Srinagar where the offices are supposed to resume work from May 07 in summer capital here.
“The timing has been changed to please the bureaucrats at the cost of the health of the students. The new timing will prove detrimental for the students particularly in lower classes,” said Abdul Majeed, a parent from Shalteng whose kid is enrolled in DPS Athwajan.
The parents questioned the government decision to change the school timing and said the bureaucrats should start their offices at 8 am in morning so that students reach easily to their schools after 9am.
“The irony is that the Babus select convenient timing for their offices and cause inconveniences for the small school going children,” the parents said.
Meanwhile, the Private Schools’ Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJ&K) has also opposed the government decision to revise the school timing, particularly in the city.
Chairman PSAJ&K G N Var said the order directing schools in Srinagar city to operate from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm was a torture for students, particularly small kids.
“For kids to reach at 8.30 am to school means that he has to board the bus anywhere between 7.00 am and wake up and prepare even before that. Imagine a kid as small as four years old has to go through this torture every day along with his parents,” said Var.
He said the decision to change the school timing was unilateral and was taken without taking stakeholders on board.
“We have seen kids falling asleep in school bus and even in classroom, because they don’t get enough sleep. They can’t concentrate on their studies. Even their health is at risk,” Var said.
He said the new timetable was similar to early morning crackdown on students. “We have been in touch with parents and they say kids have to be dragged out of their beds with heavy heart to reach the school,” said Var, adding that the early morning timing can be suitable for hot climate regions.
“But we are living in temperate region, the officers should understand that,” he said.
Var said the time table thrusted on schools will mar the learning ability of students.
“Previously it was agreed with concerned departments that any change in school timing will be after consultation with Private Schools’ Association and parents, but they have unilaterally taken the harsh decision and we strongly protest it,” said Var.
He said this is all being done to ensure smooth passage of government babus and secretariat employees to civil secretariat comfortably at their own choice of timing and without having to navigate roads with schools buses.
“In civilised world, students are given preference but here it is the opposite. The government is concerned for their own comfort and not anything else,” said Var. “We are getting hundreds of messages from worried parents and if government doesn’t change their order we may protest with a joint strategy.”
Meanwhile, J&K RTI movement also demanded revocation of the government order issued for revised timing in schools particularly in City.
“The new school timing is a violation of the basic rights of children. We appeal the government not to go ahead with the new school timing,” Chairman of RTI Movement, Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat said.
He said the order directing schools in Srinagar city to operate from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm was an abuse of child rights which will affect the health of children.
“It is not possible for children to reach school around 8:15 or 8:30am especially for those kids who are studying in a school that is 10 to 12 kilometers away from their residence,” he said.
He said children have to leave for school at 7 am as the school bus halts at around dozens of stops to pick the students.
“For children who are supposed to leave at 7 am, they have to get up at 6 am which is not practically or medically possible for kids in the age group of 4 to 7 years,” he said.