TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Ahead of an online public hearing by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy (TYAD) has released the results of a survey in which nearly 90% of respondents said starting school later in the day is necessary.
Among the 4,024 people surveyed, 87.8% support the move. All three options that backed such a delay, including pushing the start time back to 9:30 a.m., to between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m., and to 8 a.m. with morning study periods made optional, received similar support.
Of those surveyed, 63.7% were senior high school students, while 26.1% were junior high and elementary school students.
A proposal titled “Change the junior and senior high school time to 9:30 to 5:00” was submitted on the National Development Council’s Public Policy Online Participation Platform in mid-December last year. It quickly generated more than 10,000 supporters, passing the threshold to be reviewed by relevant government departments.
This is not the first time the topic of Taiwan’s school start times has come to the public’s attention.
In 2016, the MOE responded to a similar proposal by changing official policies regarding high schools’ early morning study period. Since then, instead of making students attend these study periods every day, schools should allow them to participate two optional days a week.
However, according to the TYAD’s survey, 76% of schools still issue punishments to students who are absent from these morning study periods. The TYAD said that since drastically delaying the start of school would be impractical considering the heavy workload assigned by the current MOE curriculum, a good way to initiate change would be making morning study sessions completely optional.
The sessions are usually 30 to 40 minute periods before class, during which students typically study or take tests. Many sleep-deprived students, however, take the opportunity to nap instead.