TL;DR – Nice. But what about the teachers?
Earlier this week at the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Committee of Supply (COS) debate, Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim boldly put forward a suggestion for school to start at a later time, saying that this would help students sleep in during the morning, so they are more prepared to face the rest of the day.
Netizens’ response to Jamus Lim’s suggestion
Some commenters have shared their sentiments about Jamus Lim’s suggestion.
While some are in favour of his suggestion, there are also those who felt that the WP MP should have given it a thorough thought before putting out this suggestion in Parliament.
Some commenters opined that the delaying of school start times would disrupt the schedule of parents who usually have to send their children to school before going to work.
No doubt, Jamus Lim’s suggestion will be great for those who have the luxury of working from home or have the flexibility of going to work late as he has pointed out in his speech. But let’s not also forget about our essential workers, who are often low-wage workers, who do not have such flexibility.
Commenters have also pointed out that this suggestion would also mean that the teachers’ workday would end later as well.
Just so you know, it is not true that teachers work only half a day. In fact, they start work earlier and often work till late at night. So, commenters who pointed this out could be right you know?
Teachers are burnt out enough
In a nationwide survey conducted amongst teachers last year, more than 80% of teachers said their mental health has been negatively impacted by their work amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the lack of work-life balance coupled with the long working hours, 80.6% of teachers indicated that they worked more than 45 hours a week.
Another survey conducted by Milieu in the same year also revealed that teachers are experiencing burnout.
90% of those who said that they are experiencing burnout cited a heavy workload as a reason, while long working hours (75%) and lack of distinction between work and leisure hours (71%) trailed behind.
In response to the struggles that teachers are facing, the silver lining is that the Singapore Teachers’ Union (STU), an affiliate of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), isn’t just going to sit back and do nothing about the mental wellness of teachers, said Mike Thiruman, general secretary of the STU.
If a burnt-out teacher needs help or a listening ear, for example, they can approach trained counsellors at the union for in-house counselling services.
Not saying that Jamus Lim’s proposal is bad, but like what this netizen has suggested,
but perhaps Jamus Lim should have conducted a survey involving students, parents, and teachers instead of just putting off a suggestion based on simply “research”?
Suggested for school to start at a later time
On Monday (7 March) during his cuts in the Committee of Supply debate, the Associate Professor raised the idea of delaying upper primary school start times by half an hour and secondary school start times by an hour.
He pointed out that research has shown that giving adolescents a longer sleep cycle would benefit them in terms of improved behaviour, health, and academic outcomes.
Thus, he suggested that upper primary cohorts and secondary schools should start at 8am and 8.30am respectively, instead of the current norm of starting at 7.30am.
The WP MP also recommended that post-secondary institutions start at 9am, adding that this is not a strict guideline.
He also said that in contrary to the belief that delayed start times “could give rise to disruptive rush hour crunches”, he predicts that the delaying of school start times is not likely to have much impact on the overall morning rush hour with more parents working from home or exercising flexible work schedules in a post-pandemic world.