There have been ongoing controversies since the new superintendent of education in Gyeonggi Province firmly promoted his new policy of delaying the time students go to school to nine o' clock in the morning. A total of more than 90% of elementary, middle and high schools are following this policy starting this semester. It has been less than a month since trials of the new policy were held, but many students, parents and even the teachers have been complaining and opposing this policy. Even for me, this new policy felt very abrupt and sudden that at first, I did not know whether I welcomed the change or not. And as weeks went by, I began to seriously worry about the impact that this policy may have in other communities. Furthermore, I was more concerned that there are not enough solid solutions or back up plans to supplement the problems currently arising from this policy. This made me feel that it was unprepared policy being promoted too soon without thorough examination of the potential social influences.
There are a few problems I find very concerning that yet lack the appropriate solutions. For example, a late start to the school means that the school finishes late. Due to this delay, many parents and teachers are concerned about the students' safety after school as the sun sets early in winter. Starting from October, the sun will set before six o' clock, hence many high school students will have to come home after dark. And for the solution, the Education office is planning to arrange the schooling times in winter sessions but there stand no concrete measures yet. In addition, there are complaints about traffic jams in certain regions as all the students go to school at once. There is no particular solution in hand to this matter either.
However, the biggest controversy is about whether delaying the school hours is satisfying the original goal for this policy. The superintendent of education of Gyeonggi Province claimed this policy in order to promote healthy and sound lifestyle for students by providing enough time for sleep and breakfast in the hectic morning. Despite these meaningful motivations, there are arguments that delaying the schooling time to nine o' clock is not the fundamental solution for the matter. Depending on parents whether they are both working parents or not, some families have less breakfast time together due to the delay. Also, there are concerns that the total sleeping time for students has not increased much as students stay up late since they can wake up late. Furthermore, there are even hideous rumors that private academic institutions might open morning classes for students to take before they go to school.
I am sure every new policy and change in society has its own side effects and negative influences to certain community. However, when the policy is about the students, we need to be extra meticulous because every community in society is under its direct influence. It can never be the issue of educational field alone, but it expands to economy, society, cultures and even politics. As a result, we need closer investigation whether the new policy is actually effective and helpful for the students. Not only that, we also need to consider the viability of actual application to our society and the aftereffects by carefully weigh the cons and pros. It would have been best if all these procedures were done in very democratic way. Collecting each community's opinions and having discussions instead of just pushing forward with what might or might not be well applied to student's real life are what we needed. I feel sorry for students who have to take the entire burden when this policy fails to be applied to their daily lives. I am not saying I oppose to this new policy, I am just very concerned about the unprepared conditions as of now.