Turkish mainlanders are still trying to adjust to the Turkish government’s decision not to implement daylight saving time (DST).
A variety of ideas have been prompted on how to deal with challenges faced by parents and students in particular, when dealing with the early morning darkness.
Academics from the Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) have suggested that schools in Turkey’s western provinces could begin one half hour earlier in December and January, in the face of mounting complaints from parents about children about having to commute to school in the dark.
Professor Ahmet Duran Şahin of İTÜ said the decision to keep to summer time was made to conserve electricity, but admitted it had caused problems.
Şahin reminded that the days will begin to lengthen from 21st December onwards.
Another academic involved in the study, psychologist Cem Demirbaş, also defended the government’s decision, claiming that adjusting the clock twice a year was “negatively affecting citizens’ psychology.”
“If there are too many problems, schools could start a little later. I’ve not seen any other country where school starts at 7 am. The whole world is discussing schools and businesses starting at 10 am”, Demirbaş said.
However, parents remain critical of the government’s decision to not put back the clocks during winter.
An official from the Istanbul Governor’s Office told daily ‘Hurriyet’ that Istanbul has 5,736 primary and secondary schools with 2.67 million students and 149,000 teachers, which “makes it very difficult to change the time when schools start.”
The official added that a change would be especially difficult for schools that have education in two separate sessions, as a later start would mean a later finish, so the second shift student would have to go home in the dark.
“If you move the first class from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., then everything will be upside down. Even if a student leaves home at 7 a.m. instead of the current 6 a.m., it will still be dark then anyway,” he said.
The official added that city traffic would increase because of an overlap between school shuttle buses and commuters heading to work.
“In Istanbul the rate of students going to school in shuttle buses is quite high. The morning shift students would end up getting caught in traffic if the school day’s start was delayed,” he noted.
At present there are no plans to adjust school hours in the offices of the governors in either Istanbul or in the capital Ankara.