CLOSING SCHOOLS BECAUSE OF HAZE IS THE WRONG APPROACH

The recent closing of all primary and secondary schools because of the hazardous level of haze in Singapore is a wrong move and is a decision made out of ‘fire fighting’ management decision making by our many highly paid and educated ministers. The reasons as to why the decision to close the schools is wrong are as follows;

1) Haze will recur every year and it is not going to go away after 2015.
2) There is no likelihood that the Indonesian government and authorities will do anything more than what they had done this year to prevent the haze problem from recurring. After all this problem has been with us since 1994 (the year when haze started to become a problem in Singapore)
3) There is every likelihood that the local authorities in Indonesian are not even keen to resolve the issue due to personal gain (receiving bribes at the ground level)
4) How many time are we going to close the schools at this time of the year when the primary school PSLE and secondary/post secondary schools ‘O’ & ‘A’ exams are round the corner. It will affect the entire schedule of the schools from primary to post secondary JCs.
5) We need a longer term and less disruptive solution in Singapore since we cannot expect any solutions to be forthcoming from the Indonesians. It’s already 21 years and the problem only only existed but gotten worst year after year.

Suggested Solution

Realign the academic year from Primary t Post secondary schools to commence from 1st July of each year and not 2nd January of each year. In other words the schools close the academic year in mid May of each year and reopen from 1st July of the same year. This revised school academic year will also help the students who are joining the Polytechnics and the Universities better as they do not need to have to with for an extended period in between their ‘O’ & ‘A’ level results release.

In the event the schools need to close of the hazardous haze level in the September/October period, the impact on the school’s academic year is far less as compared to the present schedule as the schools will only be in the 2nd term of the term and not the final term of the academic year with many major national exams scheduled.

Another benefit of the realigned school academic year is that the students participating in the annual National Day parade can have their rehearsals in May and June vacation period, hence no disruption to their school lessons. In addition the National Education preview for Primary 5 students will be in July, the beginning of their school year, thus less disruption to their entire school curriculum schedule.

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