Several primary schools in Singapore are adding a 10-min “brain break” from 12.05pm to 12.15pm everyday for students to have a snack, stretch or rest. The school hours of these schools will also change starting the school 10 mins later at 7.30am and 15 mins later at 1.45pm.
Speaking with media reporters, St Andrew’s Junior School’s principal said that she believes the new changes will improve welfare and increase focus and attention during lessons:
“The students are now coming to school later, and that would mean that they will go home later. We are looking into the well-being of the students and we want to make sure that they don’t become too hungry when they reach home a bit later.”
Although school ends at 1.45pm, after-school activities like Co-Curricular Activities (CCA), supplementary lessons and private tuition take up another 3 to 4 hours each day for school children in Singapore. Tuition is a lucrative trade in Singapore as lessons in the public schools are insufficient to help students excel, due to large classroom sizes and heavy syllabus. As Singapore’s education system strictly enforces a system that punishes failures by streaming them into Express, Normal Academic and Normal Technical at the age of 12 through the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), students are given a lot of tuition at a young age. Upgrading between the three streams is rare and most students “condemned” to the Normal Technical stream for example will often told to go to ITE vocational schools where they graduate with limited salary and promotion opportunities.
Earlier in Feb 2015, a study conducted by Nanyang Technological University found that 4 in 10 children between the age of 6 and 9 feel sleepy during the day. At least 37% of the children did not have regular bedtimes and 45% fell asleep when travelling.