Long school hours – students go hungry
The year 2006 brought some good news for the pupils of a prominent bestari school in Butterwoth. With the completion of extra classrooms, it was able to accommodate all the students into a single morning session. This is a commendable achievement but in their enthusiasm they seemed to have over-looked two important aspects – traffic congestion before and after school and provision of proper meals for increased number of students in the already overcrowded canteens.
For students in the school, classes begin at 7.25am and continue till 2.35pm from Monday to Thursday every week. There is hardly any time before school starts to have a proper breakfast, the children most of the days just rush to school without a proper breakfast, some of them as early as 6am.In school they are given two short breaks, 15 minutes at 9.30am and another 10 minutes 12.25pm.This is hardly enough to get some food at the canteen due to the big rush, a typical behavior of Malaysians.
To make matters worse, school only finishes at 2.35pm, meaning the children do not have a proper meal until they reach home the earliest around 3.00pm. How can a hungry person, especially a growing child, concentrate on studies? It is a waste of time trying to teach them when their stomachs are growling. It is better to let them go home so that they can have a proper meal, get some rest and then go for the all- important physical exercise that is essential for all growing kids
To make matters worse, on certain days after school ,they have to attend the compulsory co-curricular activities from 3.00pm to 4.30pm followed by house sports training from 4.30pm to 6.00pm.Even on these days no proper arrangements are made for lunch and tea breaks. This is not at all conducive for sports training. We do not need a medical expert to tell us this.
Forcing a person to undertake sports activities without proper food can cause vasovagal syncope and hypoglycemic attacks. These can result in brain damage if not immediately recognized and treated. If any of these mishaps does occur who will be held responsible?
It is timely for the school to seriously look into this unfavorable situation without delay. The headmasters and teachers should sit down and discuss ways to overcome this problem immediately so that a healthier environment can be created for our children to study and play more fruitfully.