Anti corporal punishment campaigner Sir Frank Peters has applauded Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for introducing a five-day school week. Bangladesh’s Education Minister Dipu Moni made the announcement this week.
In September 2021, Sir Frank spotlighted the flaws and ineffectiveness of the then existing five and a half-day school week. “I think the five-and-a-half-day school week is a family-size nuisance and detrimental to the advancement of teacher, child, family, and Bangladesh”, he said at the time.
“Why? Because it causes colossal unnecessary inconvenience and puts senseless strain on teachers, pupils, and their families who need a 48-hour meaningful break to unwind and refresh, as we all do.
“The five-and-a-half-day school week just isn’t worth the trouble and inconvenience it causes”, he added.
Sir Frank said, “Over the years, the teachers had become accustomed to the five-and-a-half-day school week. It’s the job requirement, but I have yet to meet a teacher who actually applauds or agrees with it. In these modern advanced times the five-and-a-half-day school week just doesn’t make sense and it is counter-productive to both good leaning, good teaching, and the advancement of Bangladesh”.
Since 2010 Sir Frank has been actively spearheading an anti corporal punishment in Bangladesh. He was inspired to campaign for a five-day-school week when he saw village children walk to school during the monsoon season and sit for a half-day in dripping wet clothes.
He appealed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni for a two-day free weekend to benefit the teachers and pupils. He said it would give them time for body and mind to relax, recuperate, and to be recharged in readiness for the following week.
He opined, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love for learning that lasts an entire lifetime. Teachers who are stressed and worn-out wouldn’t have the energy to even inspire themselves. Burnout and stress are not conducive to good learning (or teaching) and can spark corporal punishment.
“The five-and-a-half-day school week has passed its use-by date and needs reassessment”, he said. “It lacks justification, imagination, and vision of what a person’s life could be… what it should be… and screams for change”.
He went on to say there can never be enough emphasis given to the importance of education to the nation and all assistance and co-operation should be given to the educators.
“Teachers are no different to other government workers who work only five days a week. They, too, want to spend time and relax with their families and friends, participate in their children’s activities, visit their in-laws in distant locations, pursue hobbies and interests and generally clear their minds of the daily hurdles they face trying to teach a classroom of 100 or so pupils. In fact, they most probably need (and deserve) the rest much, much more than the majority of other government workers”, he said.
“The decision taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Education Minister Dipu Moni is a giant leap forward for the nation. It will significantly benefit the teaching fraternity and provide them with family life never before experienced, and enhance the education system in Bangladesh. I salute both of them and hope outlawing corporal punishment will become their next priority to extend the limits of their glory”, added Sir Frank.
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