In January 2023, the Kenyan Ministry of Education issued a new directive on official school hours. Primary and secondary schools will start their day at 8.00 am and end at 3.30 pm. The Ministry of Education also issued morning and night preps ban in boarding schools.
Why less class time is beneficial
The Education CS stated that the new rule reduced the mental torture of students. The ministry’s call to protect students’ mental health by reducing the time spent studying is a welcome one.
Beforehand, students in boarding schools would spend up to 10 hours on their studies. Many secondary schools also limit the time for games and hobbies for senior students to make them attend classes or preps.
This insistence on raising the school’s grade average rather than focusing on the rounded well-being of students is detrimental to their health. Research shows that sitting for more than twenty minutes increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, people who spend more than eight hours a day seated have a risk of early death, just like smokers.
The benefit of more games time
Time has also been considered for games and other extra-curricular activities. Students can stay in school for fun and hobbies until 4.45 pm.
In countries like Finland, students play outside for fifteen minutes for every 45 minutes spent in class. In other East Asian countries, students get 10-minute breaks every 40 minutes of class. Kenyan culture beforehand would even encourage students to study during their breaks.
Studies show that free play is highly beneficial to children. Free play is when children are allowed to play while following their instincts. It helps boost their confidence, self-esteem, social skills, and independence. But the previous schedule for students barely allowed for time to play.
Setting aside time for games also benefits students because it boosts problem-solving, teamwork, and risk management. Providing a safe space for children to explore talents and non-academic skills enables better emotional development and adjustment.
How the night preps ban helps students
Furthermore, children between 6- and 12 years old need at least nine hours of sleep. Under the previous schedule, children as young as five were commuting to school at 5 am and leaving school around 6 pm.
Teens between 13 and 18 need at least eight hours of sleep. With some schools conducting classes during night preps, forcing students to study or finish assignments afterwards, many candidates don’t get enough sleep.
Many schools also made students attend morning preps as early as 5 am. With this new directive, students in boarding schools can get adequate sleep.
Research shows that children who get enough sleep regularly improve the following:
- Focus and attention
- Mental health
Students not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen how much this will affect students’ performance. Some believe this could lead to lower average grades. With the Kenyan education curriculum pivoting towards what skills students can acquire rather than how much information they can retain, perhaps this will be the most well-adjusted generation.
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