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Class hours tweaked for boost to sleep

By Zhao Xinying | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-20 08:57

Primary school pupils need at least 10 hours a day, ministry guideline says

A teacher gives a lesson to students during a class in a middle school in Beijing on May 11, 2021. [Photo/IC]

Some schools in Beijing have adjusted their daily schedules in response to a call by the Education Ministry to ensure students get enough sleep.

The ministry issued a series of guidelines early this month, recommending that primary school students have at least 10 hours' sleep a day, while those at junior middle schools and high schools should have nine or eight hours respectively.

Under those standards, classes at primary schools should start after 8:20 am and those at middle schools after 8 am, the ministry said in the guidelines.

Following the issuing of the guidelines, Mapo No 2 Primary School in Beijing's Shunyi district recently implemented a new timetable for students, with the first class of the day starting at 8:35 am and students arriving at school half an hour later than before, Cui Shukun, the school's principal, told Beijing Daily.

"Although the new timetable has been implemented for only a few days, we've already received some positive feedback," he said.

"Students are happy about having more sleep."

The new timetable divides students into three groups that arrive at school at different times: The fifth and sixth grades arrive the earliest, with students entering school and having their temperatures taken at 7:45 am; the third and fourth grades follow suit at 7:50 am and the first and second grades arrive at 7:55 am.

After roll call at 8:05 am, students will have a half-hour exercise session before starting the first class of the day.

"Before the timetable was adjusted, the morning check began at 7:50 am and classes started at 8:00 am," Cui said.

More schools in the capital are taking similar action.

Health Times, a Beijing newspaper, said a few schools in the city have announced new daily schedules for students, with the school day starting with morning exercises and the first class of the day not starting before 8:20 am.

It did not say which schools had made such moves. The report said more schools are drafting new schedules for students, but it will take some time to work out the details.

Parents have been looking forward to new schedules for a while.

Shen Yiming, the father of a second grade student in Beijing's Daxing district, said he hoped the new schedule could be implemented as soon as possible so that all members of the family could get more sleep each day.

The Mapo No 2 Primary School emphasized the importance of physical exercise as well as sufficient sleep, and Cui said the new timetable will not reduce students' time for sports.

Apart from the half-hour exercises in the morning, students also have physical education classes and time for outdoor sports during their day at school. In addition, there is time for sports after school to ensure that children have sufficient physical training, Cui said.

The time for morning exercises will change slightly depending on the season, he said, adding that the new timetable also allows for some flexibility for students and their parents.

For students whose parents go to work early and have to send them to school ahead of the time required, the school has assigned teachers to supervise sports activities or book reading, Cui said.

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