Experts cry foul over plan to cut lunch break in government schools
By Ram M Sundaram | Express News Service | Published: 16th July 2017 07:43 AM |
CHENNAI: Time allotted for lunch break in government schools has been cut by half. Elementary section students (Class I to V) in these schools are presently allowed a lunch break for one hour and 10 minutes and soon this will be reduced to 40 minutes.
This change, which was introduced first in Perambalur district earlier this year, is likely to be expanded to all other districts based on the responses from various stakeholders involved.
Officials from the State School Education Department said that this decision was made after it was deemed that 80 minutes’ break was too long. “It is also seen that some students use the excess time to get out of the school, during when their whereabouts and activities are unable to be monitored,” the official added.
Another senior official from the Perambalur education department said that since majority of students avail the free midday meal, there was no necessity to grant them extra time.
However, pediatricians offered a different take, claiming that students, particularly those in towns and district headquarters, wait in long queues to get the free meal and this consumes almost half the original time allotted.
“Not all students consume meal on the same pace as some might need slightly longer time to chew and digest the food. Even if they were done with eating soon, there is nothing wrong in giving some time for relaxation before post-lunch sessions commences,” said prominent pediatrician C Srinivasan.
Responding to this, the Perambalur district education official said that the excess time would not be used for academics; rather students will be engaged in extra-curricular activities. Educationist Narayanan Natarajan, on the other hand, opined “Without keeping track of teacher absenteeism and their methodologies, this move will not have a great impact.”