Early morning ‘nightmare’ for school children: Parents want govt to step in

Various stakeholders have sought the government's intervention in the matter of resolving the issue of early morning timings for schools, which, parents and health experts say, takes a toll on the health of children.

The issue has come to fore following the sudden death of Samruddhi Pawar, a Class IV student from a Chatuhshringi school who had no history of ailments. Before her, two other students had died suddenly. They too had no history of ailments.

Parents and medical experts say early morning schools, in times of swine flu and dengue when children need enhanced immunity, were not giving the students enough time to sleep and rest. Also, children have been found to be going to schools without having breakfast. Parents say "it is impossible to eat food as soon one gets up".

Several parents and school principals have demanded that the government at least consider doing away with morning shifts for children up to class IV.

"I see many children fast asleep in school bus in the morning. My grand-daughter had no option but to adapt early school timings. It is painful to see children facing such an ordeal daily, which could affect their health at a later stage," says Parvati Tripathi, the grandmother of a Class IV girl.

Sanjeevani Pandey, a resident of Chinchwad, says, "In the early morning hours, children find it difficult to empty their bowels. They rush to bathroom and are quickly out of it as they have to catch their school bus. It leads to digestive problems."

Shantaram Pokharkar, principal of a school in Balewadi, says the onus lies with the state government to ensure schoolchildren do not suffer due to early timings.

"The state government has not released non-salary grants of schools since 2004 despite repeated assurances. This has led to financial constraints before schools in putting in place desired infrastructure like classrooms. In the absence of such infrastructure, school are forced to arrange school in two shifts."

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