Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers urged the Ministry of Education yesterday to come up with a plan within one month to address the problem of students who are not getting enough sleep because of a heavy school workload.
KMT Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) said the ministry should take responsibility for this problem. Her colleague, Chiang Yi-hsiung (江義雄), said that a study should be conducted to determine whether insufficient sleep affects the mental development of students.
Deputy Minister of Education Lu Mu-ling (呂木琳) said that Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) had instructed the ministry to deal with the matter.
Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠), director of the ministry's Department of Elementary Education, urged parents to pay more attention to their children's daily schedules to ensure they get at least eight hours of sleep per night, noting that many children spend too much time watching TV or surfing the Internet.
He called on students to do more physical exercise, as this would ensure good sleep.
The two lawmakers expressed their concerns after the results of a survey released earlier the same day showed that Taiwanese teenagers sleep half an hour less than their counterparts in other countries.
Huang Yi-shu (黃玉書), a child psychiatrist at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital who conducted the survey, said the nation's teenagers get on average 7.5 hours of sleep per night, less than the 7.9 hours enjoyed by their counterparts in Japan, South Korea and China.
She said not getting enough sleep could affect the development of teenagers, adding that they could display such symptoms as hyperactivity, irritation or anxiety.
Elementary school students should get more than nine hours of sleep per night and go to bed before 10pm, while junior and senior high school students should go to bed before 11pm and get eight hours of sleep, she said.
Huang conducted the survey from June last year until June this year on more than 2,000 students between grade six and the second year of senior high. Sixth-graders get an average of 7.9 hours of sleep, junior high school students 7.5 hours and senior high school students 6.8 hours, she said.
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