Clocks should be turned back one hour in Turkey
Turkey’s decision this year not to turn back from daylight saving time is making daily life more difficult. Schoolchildren are suffering the most. Students are going to school in pitch black, before the sun has risen, during winter. Youngsters are thus forced to be on the streets at the coldest, darkest, and most dangerous time of day.
The complaints of parents of schoolchildren have been growing like an avalanche. Mothers and fathers are waiting for school buses together with their children in the dark so the little ones are not scared. For those students who do not take school buses, mothers and fathers again walk together to school.
This insistence on keeping summer time throughout the winter has devastated small children.
In schools where days are divided into two sessions, the children who go to school in the second shift have to leave school in the dark. Some have to walk to and from school with flashlights in their hands.
According to Education Ministry data, 23.5 percent of elementary schools and 8.5 percent of secondary schools have two shifts of education. For the morning shift, the first class starts at 7:00 a.m. for the noon shift, classes end at around 7 p.m. or 7:40 p.m. In this case, students do, at least the last two classes, when it is dark outside, with the lights turned on.
For the morning shift students, in order to have breakfast they need to wake up at 5:30 a.m. Teachers have reported that some students are falling asleep in the first classes and most have difficulty concentrating.
When we did not turn back summertime daylight saving, the time students spend in the dark was extended.
Education reporter Aysel Bozan from daily Milliyet has been writing about this issue, speaking to students and parents.
One parent told her the following: “My son’s classes start at 7:05 a.m. He wakes up at 6 a.m. He spends half-an-hour at home. We walk half-an-hour to school. How can I leave him to walk alone? I take him to school but not everyone can do this. There are children without parents, or with parents who work. In this darkness, anything could happen to the kids. Also, how can the children understand and process what they are taught during these early classes, in this dark?”
“Because my daughter wakes up too early, she sleeps in the first class; she cannot recover. We suffer because of this situation also in terms of her success at classes. We also cannot send her to school alone. Generally, I take her to school, but when I am working; my old mother takes her to school,” said another parent.
Elementary school and secondary school children are scared to go and come back from school in the dark. For this reason, parents are also very anxious. The journey of children to and from school has become the biggest problem for parents.
Education and psychology experts agree that children’s chances of success and their mood is damaged by going to and from school in the dark, classes starting very early, and the number of classes being too great.
Watching young children waiting for the school bus or walking to school at the darkest time of the morning is heartbreaking.
Going to school should not become torture.
The most correct solution would be for Turkey to urgently go back to its normal time, moving its clock one hour back.
Students and parents expect the related ministry to make this decision as soon as possible.