Primary School Issues

Issues with the Extended School Day



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There has been talk of extending school hours up to 5 o'clock in the evening. The feasibility of this move needs to be viewed from the effect on teaching, learning, the personal development of students, and the availability of school facilities.

The rational for extending the duration of school hours is to allow more time for learning, academically and non-academically. Teachers do not need to rush through the syllabus as there is more time. Weaker students can get more attention. Attendance for co-curricular activities would be better as it is done within school hours. Students would thus have more opportunities to develop their leadership skills, socializing skills and sports abilities.

However, more time in school does not necessarily mean more learning is taking place. The teacher may be teaching but students may not be assimilating what is taught. At present, students have difficulty concentrating in the last few lessons due to hunger and fatigue. This problem will be compounded when they are made to stay in school till late afternoon. Students would have less time to complete their homework and projects, or have little time to attend tuition classes to help them in weak subjects. It is unlikely that extra hours in school would solve all learning problems of weak students.

There would be little time for personal development. Students would hardly have time to develop their interests in pastimes such as music or swimming. Parents also have less time to see their children as they spend a greater part of the day in school.

The most serious problem brought about by extending school hours is the lack of classrooms. Many schools have morning and afternoon sessions because there are insufficient buildings to house their students. Extension of school hours means that there is only one session. It would be many years before extra classrooms can be constructed due to shortage of money and also space.

Nevertheless, one certain positive outcome from the extension of school hours is that it could prevent students from loitering in shopping complexes or frequenting video arcades. Parents need not worry about the whereabouts of their children as they are in the safe hands of the teacher within the school compound. By the time school is dismissed, it is time for children to return home for dinner.

When viewed from all aspects, the extension of school hours however does not seem very feasible.

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