Parents suggest late start for schools in Dubai

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Parents suggest late start for schools in Dubai

Dubai - Changing the school timings is highly welcomed by Dubai residents.


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Sat 27 Apr 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 27 Apr 2019, 3:14 PM

Parents in Dubai are suggesting late start for schools to give the students sufficient sleep so they can thrive both physically and academically.
Currently, the Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) - in coordination with relevant entities - is undertaking a survey to assess the impacts of modifying the current school start and end times on road traffic congestion.
According to the RTA, the main objective of this study is to ease traffic congestion during peak times by shifting the school times to either an earlier (6.45am) or a later time to stagger school start/end times from other business start/end times.
"School timings should be a bit later as they currently start at 7.20am, which means some kids are picked up by their transport as early as 6am and they have to wake up at 5am," Marizel Salvador, a mother of a teenager, told Khaleej Times.
"We have to understand that teens need about 8-10 hours of sleep each night to function well. Unfortunately, most teens do not get enough sleep," noted Salvador, adding: "It's a medical fact that children's biological sleep patterns change as they grow up. Teens sometimes find it difficult to fall asleep before 11pm and, with all the home work, they're practically getting roughly 5-6 hours of sleep every day."
"So, why don't high schools push back start times?," Salvador stressed.
Another parent, Vagelyn Tumbaga-Federico, director of human resources at a hotel in Dubai, also shared her daily routine: "I am a mother of three kids and all are studying in Dubai. We have to wake up early morning, at 5.30am, to prepare for school. Then they will be picked up by the bus at 6.30am and reach the school before 8am."
She noted: "I think it will be healthier for my kids to start from home later as their sleeping cycle changes as they grow into adolescence. They naturally stay up late and they don't get enough sleep.
"My concern is more on health issues as they are deprived of having enough sleep. When it comes to traffic experience, they are fine with it as they normally sleep while they travel," Federico added.
Changing the school timings is highly welcomed by Dubai residents.
Khalid Javed, training and technical consultant at Emirates Driving Institute, said: "It is a good thought because it has been observed that during the school holidays or if the schools are closed any day due to any specific reason, the traffic congestion is less on Dubai roads and flow of the traffic is smoother and convenient.
"In some countries in the world, school timings are different from the other business and they face less congestion on their roads. Considering the problems of students to get up too early in the morning, in my opinion instead of starting school timing early, it is more beneficial to start later," Javed pointed out.
Some parents meanwhile say it's alright to start school early.
"If I drop my children at The Winchester School in Jebel Ali, latest by 7.15am, the traffic flow is smooth and I don't encounter any inconvenience but a few minutes later it's mayhem on the road - just utter chaos. Hence, speaking from my personal experience, I won't really mind if the school starts a little earlier than usual," Indian expat and mother of two, Iram Rizvi, told Khaleej Times.
"How the day starts undoubtedly affects the children. I don't think that looking at bumper-to-bumper traffic amid blaring horns is what children need to experience at any time, least of all first thing in the morning. It is extremely crucial that their minds are rested and at peace to start the day on a bright and happy note," she added.
"If an early start to school is what it takes to give them a stress-free start, so be it. Also, an early start would mean that they would return earlier as well, thus leaving room for more things to do during the day," Rizvi shared.
Meanwhile, Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, pointed out that promoting school transportation and carpooling is the best solution to reducing traffic congestion around schools.
"We have to take more vehicles off the roads to decongest the traffic. School buses are improving in terms of safety and authorities are coming up with clearer guidelines on carpooling," he added.

Pros and cons of early school timings
> Will avoid morning traffic congestion
> Students can come home early, giving them more time for recreational activites and sports
> Students don't get enough rest
> Sleep deprivation translates into sleepiness and less focus in school
> Students fall asleep at their desks
> Less chance to eat breakfast

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