Bahrain's parliament and education ministry are on a collision course over a decision to extend the school day in government schools.
The ministry has been pushing for adding around one hour to the daily courses in a move to make students spend more time on formal learning. According to the ministry, a pilot experience in some girls' high schools has been "highly encouraging" and now wants the other high schools in the country to adopt the same timings following the February mid-year holidays.
However, parents have expressed on the national radio and in the local dailies their opposition to the decision to extend the school day, arguing that it would disrupt their daily routines and would put extra pressure on the students.
The case took a major twist when some lawmakers from the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament embraced their arguments and confronted the minister with the "popular opposition" to the move.
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"The ministry does not have the potential to implement its decision to extend the school day," MP Adel Al Assoomi, the head of the service parliamentary committee, said. "In fact, the decision does need more consultations and further studies to assess its merit before it is implemented," he said.
Abbas Al Madhi, a lawmaker elected in October, urged the ministry not to rush into implementing the decision.
"The ministry should wait before it goes ahead with its plan," he said. "Should the ministry choose to ignore the call of our committee, we do have several legal and constitutional ways to stall its move as it does not serve the interests of the students or their parents," he said.