It has been more than a week since Hanoi staggered working hours for students, government offices, and commercial centers in 12 of its districts, mostly in the downtown area, to ease the chaotic traffic situation.
But its effects are disputed: officials from the city Department of Transport insist that the initiative has eased traffic jams while some members of the public disagree, pointing out a verdict will have to wait until the end of the first lunar month when all students and workers return to the city after Tet.
While an official assessment from the Ministry of Transport and related agencies is awaited, what it has done to students so far cannot be ignored.
Now high-school and university students have classes between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., while younger students study between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The former start their classes earlier and end much later than before, hardly getting any time to do their homework or for fun and games. The latter get a shorter break between the morning and afternoon sessions since the hours are shorter now.
These are not the only issues for Hanoi's students.
It is said that families are the "basic cells" of a society. In fact, many social problems, including delinquencies, can be traced to home, or rather, the lack of care and intimacy among family members.
With the new schedule, how can students, who now do not get home until around 8 p.m. have a proper family dinner? And dinner is the only time when children can gather with their families after spending the whole day at school.
However, the main question here is not about the hours.
A high school student writes to VnExpress: "Why change our school hours? By doing so, you also mean that we students cause traffic jams, don't you?"
The questions should be food for thought for leaders and officials who always claim that children are the country's future.
Editor's note: In response to feedback from students and teachers, the Hanoi's People's Committee has adjusted the hours for high school students again to end their classes at 6 p.m. from February 13 onwards. This is about 30 minutes later than the original closing hour of 5.30 p.m.