Sleepy students lobby for later school start

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Both teachers and their students are urging a change in school hours that will allow classes to start later in the morning, between 9-10am for example. That may result, they claim, in lower absence rates and healthier students because they’ll get more sleep.

Studies show that the vast majority of teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep, because they don’t go to bed early enough. The pressures of school work, sports and other extra-curricular activities and, not least, time spent on social media means many don’t go to bed until midnight or later.

Since the average teenager should have at least eight to nine hours of sleep a night, that means many teens come late to school, snooze during class or just ditch classes if they wake up late. Delaying the time when classes start is simply practical, advocates say.

“It’s interesting, and something I think we should try out,” Steffen Handal, leader of the national teachers’ organization Utdanningsforbundet, told newspaper Dagsavisen. He thinks that if classes start at 9am instead of 8am, it could also curb high drop-out rates, currently 30 percent at the high school level (vidergåendeskole, which spans three years from the 11th grade).

Some students worry that later starting hours mean they’ll also finish later, and that can interfere with part-time jobs or after-school activities. “And if you start later, you’ll also go to bed later than now,” one 17-year-old, Astrid Flaten, told Dagsavisen.

newsinenglish.no staff