On September 1, the Gyeonggi-do school district in South Korea announced the change in its schools’ starting hours from 8 am to 9 am, with 2001 out of 2250 schools in the district agreeing to start this policy. In interviews with J Student Reporters, students in America reacted to the news.
According to Yonhap News, this time change was set to give students more rest and energy. Getting more rest helps the body mechanisms function better and naturally benefits high school students who are still growing. Furthermore, the school district wants to prevent students from dozing off during class and getting sick from lack of sleep.
Compared to California, South Korea’s education curriculum is very rigorous, and South Korean high schoolers are known for dedicating most of their time to studies during the weekdays. After school ends, students often attend prep schools to study more until the late hours during the night. They then go home to work on homework until early in the morning.
Upon hearing this news, Rachel Lee, a studious junior at West Ranch High School (WRHS) in Southern California, expressed shock and envy.
“I have to wake up at 6 am every weekday to get to class that starts at 7 am,” stated Lee during an interview with HSR.
She continued, “Sometimes I stay up very late to study for my AP class and dread waking up in the morning. [On those days, I am] fatigued and my head hurts during the afternoon. I wish this [policy] applied to our school district as well,” stated Lee during an interview with JSR.
Lee also further elaborated on her busy schedule, which includes extracurricular activities and loads of homework. She claimed she was as busy, if not, more busy than those students in South Korea.
However, Sabrina An, another hard-working junior at West Ranch High School, possessed a different perspective.
An stated, “I would definitely want to sleep in. But students like me who have an open [period] have the advantage of going home early every other day unlike those [students] in South Korea who have to basically stay at school the whole day everyday.”
These changes could someday apply to the California education system. In an August 25 policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended at least an 8:30 am start time for all middle and high school students.