Altering school calendar, an escape route from air pollution

January 11, 2017

TEHRAN — The persistent air pollution in metropolises of Iran has lately urged officials to discuss the possibility of altering school calendar.

School year normally starts in late September in Iran and ends in mid-June and is followed by a long three-month summer holiday. Of course alteration may happen depending on each school, their curriculum and the students’ grade.

However, it’s been some years that the choking smog which normally engulfs metropolises and the capital during cold seasons force the officials to shut down schools which is pretty harmful as they usually interfere with final exams or in general the educational curriculum.

For instance, according to ISNA news agency, schools in Tehran have been shut down for six days due to insufferable air pollution since the beginning of the school year falling on Sep. 23, 2016.

Therefore the working group for reduction of metropolises air pollution proposed a plan for altering the school year calendar which was approved by the cabinet on November 16 and consequently the Education Ministry is tasked with coming up and designing a new school calendar which can be adapted to the new circumstances and also each province’s climate, biome, and the local social and economic characteristics. 

Ali Zarafshan, an official with Education Ministry, also underscored the importance of designing a flexible school calendar which suits each provinces’ need and characteristics, suggesting that the change in school calendar would at least guarantee students health during rather long episodes of air pollution in metropolises

He further pointed out that school breaks should not exceed six to eight weeks as longer holidays would result in students forgetting what they’ve learnt.

“Of course we should be prepared to face challenges arise from the newly made decision but the changes would definitely result in educational improvement,” he highlighted.

Despite all the shortcomings and setbacks the newly proposed plan might have it seems pretty reasonable to both decrease long summer holidays and avoid shutting down schools during autumn and winter which might hamper the educational programs.

MQ/MG

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