Schools Starting Later in Gyeonggi-do, Parents in Uproar

Article from Yonhap News :

Safety Concerns as Classes Finish after Sunset: A School Hours Dilemma.

Photo of a revised school schedule reflecting newly implemented later start times.

Photo of a revised school schedule reflecting newly implemented later start times.

Since Gyeonggi-do public schools have implemented a 9 o’clock school start time, more parents worry about their children’s safety going home from school.

Since the start time is later, all classes have been bumped to a later time slot. With the changing season, sunset is gradually becoming earlier.[The parents say] the way home from school is too dark.

Some are pointing out the flaws in the plan with the objective to “offer more free time and ensure enough sleep for students.”

“A” high school in Suwon implemented superintendent Lee Jae-jeong’s 9 o’clock school time policy from September 1st.

The school start time has been pushed back nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes, from 7:30 or 7:40 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.

The end of school hours have also been pushed back.

Sophomores and Juniors, who have 7 classes, finish school at 5:00 p.m. However for Seniors, who have 8 classes daily, classes do not finish until 6:20 p.m.

For high school seniors, classes are let out later compared to underclassmen in order to allow enough class time to prepare for the college entrance examinations.

As of the 14th, sunset is occurring at 6:42 p.m., and at the end of September it will set as early as 6:20 p.m.

In October and November, sunset is about 1 hour earlier at 5 p.m.

Thus, starting in October, at schools with similar schedules to “A” High School, students will be going home from school after the sun sets.

Jeong, the 47-year-old parent of a junior in high school points out that, “I understand how changing the school start time to 9 o’clock was done for the students’ benefit, but it has just in effect delayed classes that are still the same length of time.”

A teacher from one high school said, “This policy was enacted so that students can get more sleep and free time. But somehow this ends up makes middle and high school students’ schedules more tight.”

Graphic showing results of a study: 73.9% of students,  56.4% of parents, and 61.2% of teachers support changing the school starting time to 9 o'clock.

Graphic showing results of a study: 73.9% of students, 56.4% of parents, and 61.2% of teachers support changing the school starting time to 9 o’clock.

Some schools that originally agreed to the 9 o’clock start time have quietly refrained from implementing it.

One middle school in Hwaseong has set up a plan but is yet to implement the new school hours. The school is located in an area far from the main road. If school were to start later, there could be some major safety concerns, so many parents are against the 9 o’clock start time.

Classes already finish after 5 p.m., so if the new hours were implemented, school would finish 30-40 minutes later. This means that in the winter months of November through January, there could be safety issues for the students.

Gyeonggi-do Office of Education after considering this issue of the difference in summer and winter seasons, said that the schools could implement a 9 o’clock start time, and has followed up with no concrete measures.

In reality, it is considered too difficult to have separate schedules for summer and winter months.

The Office of Education plans to continue the 9 o’clock start time, and after evaluating its first month of implementation, give recommendations for revision to the policy starting with the dilemma caused by the [early sunsets in the] winter months.

Comments from Naver :


They’ll make the students stay at school and study till ten o’clock anyway. They’re just pretending to care about the students’ safety after sunset.


So then why was it safe to go to school before sunrise?


Honestly the amount of time spent at school is too long compared to other advanced countries. I think the amount of time in school needs to be shorter.


At regular academic high schools, being at school past sunset is just natural. Why all this worry as if this is something new…


It’s only those ajumma who are obsessed with private classes saying if there were fewer classes it would be great.


How did they do it before the 9 o’clock start time was implemented, afraid of night study?


So you’re saying that in the dark winter mornings it is safe to go to school? Not really an excuse.


That’s nothing, you’re just making things up. Right, don’t send your kids to hagwon [private after-school academies] and don’t go to school in the early morning either.


Reporter and Yonhap News Desk, weren’t you embarrassed a little when you uploaded this article?… Even on a normal day because of study hall students are going home from school after ten at night.. ^^


Seniors in high school are either doing night study at school or at hagwon anyway so they are going home at 10 or 11 at night. What is all of this about the sun setting? Are there even any high school students returning home after classes end?

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