Adjust recess time, but don't start school later

If schools have a snack break for pupils between 9am and 10am, then they could have a longer, staggered recess from 11am ("Late lunches not healthy for schoolkids" by Ms Irene Louis; Jan 21).

The longer recess time will give children more time to eat a heavier meal, which will sustain them for their journey home for a late lunch, whether it is at 2pm or 3pm.

When scheduling their recess breaks, schools should consider the time needed for the pupils to pack up, get to the canteen, queue up, eat, and get back to the classroom.

There should be a long enough recess so children can enjoy their food and not eat too fast, so they can digest the food better.

Lower-primary pupils also take a longer time to eat, and need time to socialise with others and learn to be independent.

As for schools' start time, I disagree with the suggestion that schools start at 9am, as this would clash with many parents' work schedules. Parents would then not be able to drive their children to school before getting to the office.

This will be a problem especially for parents of young children who need supervision while getting ready for school in the morning.

Pupils who participate in co-curricular activities (CCAs) usually stay for several hours after school. If schools were to start at a later time, then the CCAs would also end later, and pupils would have less time to finish their homework, engage in social activities, and sleep.

Starting school later will also affect the time available for after-school tuition sessions.

Francis Cheng