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New school year brings later start times for high school students across Taiwan

Neihu High School angers parents after asking students to arrive by 7:30 am despite new guidelines for 8:10 am start

File photo: Taiwanese students on their way to class.

File photo: Taiwanese students on their way to class. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Students across Taiwan will head back to classes on Tuesday (Aug. 30) as the new school year officially begins.

Under the new guidelines from the Ministry of Education (MOE), morning study periods at high schools will be optional starting this year, meaning that no high school student should be required to arrive at school earlier than 8:10 a.m. The new regulations have come as a relief to many students and parents who feel that the later start times will give high school students more time to rest.

However, Neihu High School in Taipei has reportedly angered some students and parents after a notice was issued expressing the hope that students would still arrive at school before 7:30 a.m. The notice led many parents to voice concerns and complaints with the school and the local government.

The school issued a response to the complaints which emphasized that it is not mandatory for students to arrive at school before 8:10 a.m. They clarified that homeroom teachers may still organize early morning study sessions and classes have the freedom to organize activities before the school day’s official start time, reports UDN.

Neihu High School also clarified that any activities scheduled prior to the official start time will not affect a student’s grade for any class.

The initial statement and subsequent explanation led many to question whether the school’s policy towards morning activities will effectively circumvent the new guidelines issued by the MOE.

According to the UDN report, the Department of Education in Taipei has contacted high schools throughout the city to reiterate the newly implemented guidelines and expectations for the new school year. While students and teachers are free to arrange learning activities before the first period class, schools may not force students to attend or participate in such activities.

Note: The information concerning an 8:10 a.m. start time for classes in this article pertains only to high school students.