Srinagar: The new school timing announced by the government from May 1 in schools falling within the Srinagar municipal limits has evoked severe criticism from parents who have demanded its immediate rollback.
The parents and the other stakeholders said the students were put to stress by the School Education Department (SED) for what they said “ensuring hassle free traffic movement for bureaucrats during daytime.”
The government recently approved change in timings for government as well as private schools within Srinagar municipal limits and said the timing for the schools shall be from 8.30 am to 2 pm.
The decision was taken after the traffic police headquarters J&K in an official communication to Principal Secretary SED stated that the timing of schools in Srinagar City was clashing with office timings during afternoon peaks hours resulting in congestion on main roads in Srinagar city.
The traffic police department said approximately more than 52,000 students come out from the Colleges and Schools.
The ADGP traffic headquarters in an official communication to SED suggested to change the timing of schools and Colleges and notify new timing for schools from 8.30 am to 2 pm to overcome the problem of congestion and also ensure smooth movement of traffic in Srinagar city.
However, the change in timings has angered the parents who castigate the authorities for training the guns on the children to ease the VIP movement in city.
"Why can't offices in J&K start before 9 am when it is happening in other states? This is inhuman to send our kids in wee hours to their schools and facilitate babus for their smooth travel to their offices during the day time," said Mehraj Ahmad, a visibly angry parent from Hyderpora.
The parents said the change in school timing will tell upon the health of the students and will prove detrimental for them in the longer run.
"It will become a hectic task to prepare kids for schools. Students can't prepare themselves too early as it is not possible for little kids to wake up before dawn and prepare for school," said Muhammad Aslam, a parent from Hazratbal.
The parents questioned the school timing order and said the people at the helm of affairs chose comfortable timing for them while as small school going children are subjected to torture.
"Why don't they (government) adopt such timing for themselves and reach their offices early. They select comfortable timing for themselves at the cost of the health of the students," the parents said.
Interestingly around 80 percent of the students particularly of Kindergarten use school bus to ferry them to and from their respective homes.
"Kids will have to wake up early at 6am am and reach their bus stop around 6.15 am and during this time they have to finish their breakfast as well. Once they board their school bus, they are taken to other routes and roam for an hour to pick other students. This whole process is unhealthy for them," the parents said.
Earlier on April 01, government notified new timing for all government and recognised private schools within Srinagar Municipal limits from 9 am to 3 pm while those located outside Srinagar municipal limits will function from 10 am to 4 pm.
But the changes in the timing for Srinagar schools from May 01 has been termed as anti-student.
"The new timing will have implication on the students of primary classes given their tender age. Forcing kids to wake up early will affect their mental as well as physical health," said a doctor wishing not to be identified.
It may be recalled that the traffic Police department proposed changes in school timing during previous years as well. But it had to eat its words after the proposal faced public outcry.
Advisor to J&K Lieutenant Governor Rajiv Rai Batnagar and Principal Secretary SED Bishwajit Kumar Singh were not available for their comments on the issue.