Manama: Parents in Qatar have called for shorter school days, attributing their request to the soaring summer heat and examinations due in weeks.

“Students cannot really focus on their studies after midday and they should be allowed to go home,” one parent told local daily Al Raya. “Shorter hours would stimulate their concentration and would reinforce their desire to learn and to achieve academically,” the parent said.

Currently students attend classes until 1.45pm and the parents said that the school day should be shortened to 12 or 12.30.

“We see that adults have problems dealing with the high summer temperatures beyond 12 o’clock and we know for sure that younger minds and bodies cannot function properly for more than four to five hours,” another parent said. “Besides, there will be national exams within six weeks and students need to be ready by reviewing the year-long curriculum.”

Salem Mohsin Al Merri, another parent, said that four hours of schooling a day were sufficient.

“In fact, four hours of sound learning is better than eight hours during which the student can be easily distracted,” he said in remarks published by the daily on Sunday. “Besides, when the student is forced to stay at school, he will simply hate it. Reducing the school hours boosts academic results. The summer is here and the national exams are fast approaching,” he said.

However, those who called for not changing the school hours insisted that the hot temperatures were not an excuse for dropping classes.

“Students can put up with a normal day at school and there is no need to shorten the hours,” one parent said. “When students spend more hours at school, they have greater opportunities to learn and to build a strong character. Let us not forget that the students have just come back to school following a ten-day break. They need to fulfil all the academic requirements to pass, and even if there is any plan to shorten the school hours, it should be done next year, not now,” the parent said.