HCMC mulls changing school times to lessen traffic jams

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Ho Chi Minh City’s education department has proposed changing class hours at local schools in an effort to deal with traffic jams during rush hour.

Under the proposal, students at elementary, secondary and high schools will start and end their classes 15 minutes later than current schedules.

At the moment, morning classes in the southern city start between 6.45 a.m.-7 a.m. and end at between 10.45 a.m.-11 a.m. Afternoon classes, meanwhile, start at between 12.45 p.m.-1 p.m. and end at between 4.30 p.m.-5p.m.

The adjustment was based on a previous plan agreed by the HCMC Department of Transport and took into account parents’ working hours, said Tran Khac Huy, head of the education department’s Student Affairs Division.

It took students’ health and age into account as well, he stressed.

The proposed adjustment was only a general directive, school principals have to decide their schedule based on specific circumstances, Huy said.  For instance, some schools might have to adjust their schedules by 20 minutes or more, depending on the traffic situation in their area as well as the convenience of students and parents.

Huy also said that the directive would not be applied at all schools, and instructions were awaited from municipal authorities before it would take effect.

The adjustment was just a temporary solution, he said, noting that the education sector needs to cooperate with other agencies, including local police, to efficiently deal with traffic jams around schools.

Schools should themselves study the reasons for traffic congestion in their area so they can come up with suitable solutions, Huy said.

In the meantime, very few experts and parents were positive about the proposal.

Theoretically, adjusting class hours by 15 minutes can help lessen traffic jams, but it will not affect any remarkable decrease, said Dr. Nguyen Thien Tong, who teaches aeronautics at the HCMC University of Technology.

Schools should have more pavements and spaces where parents can park while waiting to pick their children up after class, instead of waiting on the streets, Tong said.

Ngo Thanh Hung, whose has a child studying at the Giong Ong To Elementary School in District 2, said the adjustment would make no change at all, because parents would always crowd in front of schools to pick up or drop their children.

Source: Tuoi Tre

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