Hanoi adjusts new working hours amid mixed public reaction

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Authorities in Hanoi readjusted local working hours on Wednesday, after the first modification drew mixed reactions from the public since it was implemented more than one week ago.

In an urgent dispatch sent to local agencies that day, Hanoi's People's Committee changed the hour for high school students to end their classes to 6 p.m.. The closing hour was originally set at 7 p.m.  

According to the authorities, they made the latest adjustment, which will take effect on February 13, in response to public outcry that 7 p.m. was too late.

They also asked local schools to adjust their working hours in accordance with regulations "flexibly" to meet the target of lessening traffic density during rush hours.

On February 1, Hanoi changed the official hours of students, state office workers and commercial and service centers for ten downtown districts, as well as Tu Liem and Thanh Tri Districts.

Under the plan, one group, comprised of high school, college and university students, would attend classes between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The second group, including younger students and state office workers, had their hours adjusted to between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The third group, which excluded banks and financial centers, worked from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Since then, local media has continually reported difficulties that local students and teachers have faced, raising public concerns about students' health and study habits.

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It was argued that the new working hours started too early and ended too late. It was also criticized for giving students an inadequate break between morning and afternoon sessions.

In the meantime, the initiative's effects remain disputed. While local transport officials insisted that the measure has helped reduce traffic congestion, many members of the public and several experts argued that it was too soon to draw conclusions.

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