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Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: No-homework policy is in the best interests of school students

Filed on February 11, 2020 | Last updated on February 11, 2020 at 07.52 pm

Homework takes the joy out of family hours and children find themselves immersed in books after returning from school.

The Ministry of Education's plan to scrap homework in government schools is a major reform that will free up young minds to discover the world, get involved in physical activity while helping them grasp practical, real-world issues. The no-homework policy puts less stress on students and gives them scope to pursue their interests in arts and sport after school hours. This is a landmark reform that the school system will take time to come to grips with but was long overdue in the age of technology and rapid connectivity when knowledge and information are shared at great speeds. The ministry deserves a round of applause for going ahead with its plans in the interests of students and the academic community.

Homework takes the joy out of family hours and children find themselves immersed in books after returning from school. In some cases classwork is dragged home as the child is unable to finish the task at school. There was little focus on sport or the pursuit of arts and culture under the old system which has outlived its purpose. Modern learning is about experiences and this policy gives students the flexibility to gather knowledge on the go - from their teachers, peers, and parents while enjoying and appreciating their surroundings a little more. Then there's technology and its various facets that make learning convenient to the touch.

Schools now have the responsibility to complete academic lessons during stipulated class hours which can span eight hours in high school. Smart tech-enabled classrooms should be made more efficient for this purpose and the flaws ironed out. That said, the new system calls for greater discipline and a focused approach to learning from both teachers and students. Parents on the other hand could find it easier to manage affairs at home as they would not be required to spend long hours helping their children. Starting February 16, 256 schools - 23 in Dubai and 233 in Abu Dhabi - will adopt the homework-free policy. The idea is not novel as countries like Finland, Japan, and South Korea have implemented these policies. Homework is limited to 2.8 to 3.5 hours per week in these countries but the UAE has gone a step further by abolishing it. The policy is a boon for future generations. Learning by rote is passe, and this zero-homework policy should be extended to include private schools.



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