After the Chinese New Year break, I asked the secondary school students at my enrichment centre classes how they spent their time during the festive period. Almost all of them, from different schools, said they had to complete homework during the break. Several of them bemoaned the workload across multiple subjects.
When I asked, they confirmed that this was not just a backlog of homework that they had previously not done and needed this period to catch up on.
I think such academic demands wear students out and demoralise them. As an educator myself, I recognise the importance of using holiday periods to catch up on studies, especially for students who may be struggling academically. It would also be fair for teachers to expect students to devote some time during the June and year-end holidays to revise their work.
But festive breaks are different. These are times when the young should be encouraged to soak in the festivities without having to feel that they have assignments due. These are also precious occasions for families to bond.
I know of schools that have a strict no-homework policy during festive breaks, and I think it is a nice initiative for all schools to adopt.
If working adults do not want to be saddled with work during festive celebrations, why should it be different for students?
Matthew Lim Hock Kee