Published: 10th October 2023
Schools, parents, associations oppose change in Bengaluru school timings to ease traffic woes
Many associations also voiced that not all the congestion in the city is due to schools, and the government should find alternatives to traffic jams
All stakeholders, including school managements, parents, teachers, traffic police and private transport associations unanimously opposed the suggestion of changing school timings to decongest Bengaluru. The decision comes after the Karnataka High Court directed the primary education and literacy department to hold discussions on the probable change in school hours, stated a report in The New Indian Express.
Stakeholders reiterated that changing school timings will be detrimental to children’s health, with no physical activity, and will be a hassle for parents, especially those with jobs. Starting schools early will mean parents will have to wake up earlier, midday meal makers who start work by 4.30 am will have to compromise on their sleep schedules, and teachers who have children will also suffer.
Ritesh Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, said, “Different stakeholders have listed different reasons opposing the change in current school timings. There are some ground realities we need to analyse before making decisions, the same will be put forth in court.”
He added that Bangalore City Police has identified eight hotspots, including Central Business District (CBD) and some locations near Outer Ring Road (ORR) where measures will be taken to regulate traffic.
Many associations also voiced that not all the congestion in the city is due to schools, and the government should find alternatives to traffic jams.
Shashi Kumar D, General Secretary, Association of Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka (KAMS) said, “Parents enrolling their students in CBD area should be made to sign an undertaking to use only public or school transport instead of their personal vehicles.” He added that the government should consider staggering the time of vehicles entering the city during early hours, as they end up getting stuck in traffic during school timings.
Other suggestions included pooling resources and securing BMTC buses for schools that don’t have private buses. This can help reduce congestion in the area where schools are located on the same road. Parents said this initiative will also trim expenditures as private transport costs up to Rs 25,000 - Rs 30,000 annually for each student.
The stakeholders complained that many roads leading to schools and colleges are in bad shape, which slows down vehicles and should be addressed on an urgent basis.
“Depending on the requirements, traffic wardens in certain high-density areas can be roped in to facilitate easy movement of vehicles in the mornings and afternoons,” said BN Yogananda of RTE Students' and Parents' Association.