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Schools review working hours

How much time do children need to spend at school - eight hours, seven or six? Delhi is a bad place to look for answers.
By Anuradha Mukherjee | None, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2006 02:18 AM IST

How much time do children need to spend at school - eight hours, seven or six? Delhi is a bad place to look for answers. Or even trends. But at least two of the top-of-the-line schools are taking a very hard look at this question.

Delhi Public Schools in East of Kailash and Vasant Vihar want to keep children for an hour longer - increase school timings from the present five to six. Sri Ram School, on the other hand, wants to bring it down from seven to somewhere around six, or even five.

So is six hours the right duration? Not really. Some schools like Vasant Valley keep children in school for much longer, around eight hours and don't feel the need to revisit an issue closed many years ago to everyone's satisfaction.

Sri Ram, however, wants to change school timings. Reason: Children need some time to themselves after school; "just be" time. And this is being done on demand from parents.

Director Abha Adams says, "When we started the concept in the 80s (longer school hours) we were trying to prevent a latch-key generation with more mothers joining the workforce. Over the past four or five years, however, many parents have asked us to have an early closing hour."

DPS, meanwhile, wants the school hours increased. Reason: Children got only studies, studies and studies during the time they were in school. No time for anything else.

DPS R K Puram principal Shyama Chona says, "When you have just five hours in school, most of the time just goes in studies. We want kids to spend 60 per cent of their time outside the classroom involved in co-curriculur activities. The timings should suit everyone."

Modern is planning the same. But a decision hasn't been taken yet.

So, how much time do children need to spend at school?

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