NUS prof explains why Nanyang Girls’s 8:15am starting time is not that great an idea

Just something else to consider, before calling for nationwide change.

By Nyi Nyi Thet | May 11, 2017

The recent news that Nanyang Girls High School pushed back their daily starting time to 8:15am has been met with pretty widespread acclaim.

Screenshot from CNA

But not everyone thinks the initiative is particularly needed, or as good for Singapore as a whole.

One of these contrarian thinkers is NUS Computer Science Associate Professor Ben Leong.

He wrote a Facebook post explaining why, in his view, the initiative wasn’t as benevolent as many others might think.

Here’s what he says:

And here’s where he points out something perhaps not everyone might have thought of, while busy discussing the virtues of getting enough sleep: because of the traffic problems that might arise if more schools started taking up this later timing initiative.

“Morning rush hour traffic is currently a bloody disaster. How we have managed to keep things more or less under control is to effectively have two “shifts”. First the kids go to school and then office worker rush begins.”

The existing stilted timing that exists for most schools is also what leads to perks for school bus drivers, who can ferry the kids first to school, then the adults to work.

The solution he recommends is simple, really: for the parents to put their kids to bed earlier.


Now, this perspective expectedly saw some people questioning Leong.

Which Leong responded to by saying:

That strain of argument also attracted some flak:

Despite that, Leong’s sticking to his guns, cautioning that a shift — in other words, if all schools in Singapore switched to an 8:15am start en masse — will result in morning rush hour traffic becoming far worse than it already is.

But he does have an idea of the actual reason behind the change on NYGH’s part:


Top image adapted from CNA

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About Nyi Nyi Thet

Thet has a chronic fear of teenage girls laughing at him. He sometimes puts on a cap in his room and yells “Gryffindor”.

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