The Education ministry has put parents in a conundrum. It has given the option to schools to close early for the year-end holidays so that students need not go back to school for one week after the Deepavali/Hari Raya break (31 October to 6 November). In order to make up for the early closure, the five days of 7-11 November have to be replaced by Saturday classes. Since the September Saturdays have already been booked to replace the Haze emergency holidays and extra festival holidays (one day for Deepavali to replace 31 Oct and one day for Hari Raya to replace 2 Nov), it looks like all the October Saturdays may end up as school days.
If you don't have school-going children, I don't expect you to understand this complicated class-replacement affair. For those of us who do, it's already a headache and it's causing a huge mess up in our time-table.
1. Students who have tuition or extra-curricular classes such as music, taekwando, swimming on Saturdays have to reschedule.
2. Parents who have children in more than one school have to juggle the kids' different schedules if one school decides to close early on 28 October (before the one week festival break and one week early closure) and the other decides to go with the original date of 12 November.
3. As it is the 7-week year-end holidays is already way too long. If the schools close early, that'll make it a 9-week break if we count the one-week festival break. What are we going to to with the children for NINE long weeks? I'll be glad to invite an Education Ministry officer to stay in my home so that he'd get a taste of four kids running around the house, alternating between endless computer games, tv, internet surfing, getting into each other's hair and groaning, "it's sooooo booorrrring...."
Here comes the crunch. After all the hassle the schools go through to arrange Saturday classes, attendance is poor. Many students play truant, especially those studying in Kebangsaan schools. "After all, the teachers don't teach what," they say. "Why go and waste time there?"