A Thai school girl having breakfast...When the Education Minister made another statement recently, sighting that schools should have an earlier recess (break time), everything turn into "chaos" again. It seems that every time the current Education Minister makes a statement, everything must be followed - since he is also the Deputy Prime Minister, isn't it?
Education officials, parents, teachers..., in fact - almost every Malaysian who have kids going to schools - is on RED alert !! Again....!
What? Before, it's free schooling. Now, you wanna give FREE BREAKFAST??
Let's see the root of the problem.
If you make a survey on "school children having breakfast before going to school", I think 75% of them don't take breakfast. Maybe more... Am I right? I am a teacher of 33 years of teaching experience. I have taught in 8 schools (2 in Selangor and 6 in Perlis) and that qualifies me to give a better statement than the Minister himself...
Schools in Malaysia starts as early as 7.30am. Not every student live nearby the school. Most of them have to wake up as early as 5.30am and by 6.15am have to move out of their house and take whatever transport available. On a normal day, the student should reach school by 7.30am. Imagine taking breakfast at 6.00am at home... Parents must wake up at 5.00am to prepare breakfast. Which parents do that everyday? You answer me...
School children will of course be hungry, once lessons start at 7.40am. And they have to wait for recess at 9.30am (the earliest - in Primary schools) or at 10.20am (in Secondary schools). And the Minister asked schools to be flexible in the Recess time - stating to have recess as early as between 8.00am to 9.00am... These children will be very hungry by 12.00 noon, because they finish school at 1.30pm. (Primary school) or 2.40pm (Secondary school)...
As I see it, the root of the problem is not about not taking breakfast. It's about the schooling hours in Malaysia. Schools in Malaysia starts so, so, very early. Let's compare. Schools in Thailand starts at 9.00am (8.00am Thai time). *Remember - because of the time zones, sunshine in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia is about the same.. While we are 9.00am in Malaysia, it's only 8.00am in Thailand and Indonesia. Schools in New Zealand and Australia starts at 9.00am too. Thai school children have time for breakfast. So do the Indons. We don't...
That's the problem. It's not about breakfast - it's about TOO EARLY of Schooling Time. Get it???
Just give it a thought, Mr. Education Minister...
Let's start school at 9.00am then. Kids have time for breakfast and enough sleep too..Problem solved....
A Malaysian secondary school student sleeping in class because of not enough sleep.In the newspapers today:
NST, 06 January, 2012.
Parents and teachers yesterday welcomed the suggestion for an earlier recess for lower primary school children but said a survey should be conducted first.
They said while schools could introduce an early recess, parents should ensure that their children were fed before they went to school.
National Parent-Teacher Association president Prof Datuk Mohd Ali Hassan said an early recess would mean that the children would have to wait longer for school to end. He feared that it would disrupt their concentration.
"Maybe schools can have an early recess for light, healthy breakfast and another break later," he said yesterday.
On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also education minister, suggested that primary schools implement an earlier recess for pupils who came to school on empty stomachs.
Ali said the schools would have to adjust their timetable for the breaks.
"This is to educate the children on the importance of having breakfast but this does not mean that parents can wash their hands off the responsibility."
National Union of the Teaching Profession president Hashim Adnan said the recess time for lower primary schoolchildren could be brought forward an hour to 8.30am.
"It can be done as most schools have two recess periods for lower and higher primary schoolchildren."
The earliest recess time is 9.30am for Year One to Year Three pupils.
Hashim said the move should only be carried out after a proper study.
"An earlier recess will require them to wait longer before school ends about 1pm to have lunch."
Parent Action Group for Education president Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said parents should be reminded to feed their children light breakfast, such as sandwiches or biscuits.
She said an earlier recess was not practical as the children would have to wait longer for lunch.
"Their attention in class will also be affected. Parents should not come up with the excuse of not having enough time to prepare breakfast."