The Straits Times
Published on Nov 15, 2012

Timely move to relieve pressure


I WELCOME the Education Ministry's move to "emphasise enjoyment of the arts rather than the pursuit of awards" ("Schools' SYF scheme revamped"; Monday).

I have noticed that schools taking part in the Singapore Youth Festival start their preparations early during the year-end vacation, and continue their rigorous training with increased frequency and intensity as the competition draws near in April and May.

For months, students are expected to attend marathon training sessions lasting from 8am to 6.30pm on at least one day a week.

During term time, after school ends at 2.30pm, the sessions start from 3pm and end at 6.30pm.

The students usually end up having only three to four hours of sleep, as they have homework to complete and tests to study for.

And all this hard work just for a certificate that brings honour to the school, and perhaps a distinction for the student's co-curricular activity grade.

I hope the ministry can set training guidelines such that students are not over-burdened.

Training sessions should be limited to twice a week, and should not last beyond 5pm, so that students can avoid going home during peak hours when traffic is congested.

We should encourage students to go home early and have dinner with their families.

Even as we encourage work-life balance for adults, we must not neglect the students. Let them enjoy their youth.

Esther Tan (Ms)