Four-day week: Boon or bane?

Re­cently, some in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies have suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented four-day work weeks, in­stead of the usual five. What would be the out­come if such a sys­tem were im­ple­mented in col­leges? Some re­ac­tions

The Hindu - - EDGE - Jenny Vargh­ese

One of the fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences be­tween a workspace and an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion is that they cater to dif­fer­ent na­tures of stress. In a cor­po­rate setup, the in­di­vid­ual is ex­posed to stress bound by the com­pany’s ex­pec­ta­tions of their per­for­mance. In schools and col­leges, stress tends to be more in­ter­nal, and the onus is on stu­dents to ‘want to per­form’ be­yond a min­i­mum level. Thus, de­creas­ing the num­ber of work­ing days will not help them gain ad­di­tional mo­ti­va­tion to work harder. If the aim is to in­crease ef­fi­ciency, then in­sti­tutes can of­fer a less pres­suris­ing syl­labus or in­tro­duce other av­enues for stu­dents to cope with aca­demic stress such as ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties.

At present, the morale usu­ally hits rock bot­tom af­ter the first two weeks of the se­mes­ter, and doesn’t rise again till the next se­mes­ter. Teach­ers re­luc­tantly take classes with lit­tle-to-no prepa­ra­tion, as they some­times jug­gle mul­ti­ple sub­jects. Stu­dents don’t want to come all the way from their houses for an un­re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in col­lege. A four-day study week might fix these prob­lems.

First, it saves ex­penses for both teach­ers and stu­dents in terms of trans­porta­tion. Next, a four-day week has been proven to boost morale and pro­duc­tiv­ity in schools and com­pa­nies abroad, as mem­bers get more time to con­cen­trate on their per­sonal lives, hob­bies and in­tern­ships.

Col­lege stu­dents would ben­e­fit from this scheme if im­ple­mented. There would be more time for ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, and a health­ier lifestyle. The af­ter­math — good grades and a bal­ance be­tween per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life. But, one must not for­get that this idea would do won­ders only in col­leges that ac­tu­ally pres­sure stu­dents; where it is only study and no play. On the other hand, imag­ine this be­ing im­ple­mented in col­leges (mostly pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions) where stu­dents have a gala time.

While this is an in­ter­est­ing op­tion, this might largely re­duce stu­dents’ ef­fi­ciency. Hav­ing three days off in a week would lead to pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

As far as col­leges are con­cerned, it is bet­ter to have five work­ing days. Un­like the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in other parts of the world, stu­dents in In­dia largely de­pend on what pro­fes­sors teach in class.

Pro­duc­tiv­ity will be higher with just the week­end on hand to com­plete all pend­ing work.

If the aim is to in­crease ef­fi­ciency, then in­sti­tutes can of­fer a less pres­suris­ing syl­labus or in­tro­duce other av­enues for stu­dents to cope with aca­demic stress such as ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. Aditi Premku­mar

Raaghavi Srini­vasan, II, B.A. (Hons.) Eco­nom­ics, O.P. Jin­dal Global Univer­sity, Soni­pat, Haryana

Saiki­ran Bo­gyam, IV, EEE, Hin­dus­tan Univer­sity, Chen­nai

Aditi Premku­mar, I, So­cial Sciences, Tata In­sti­tute of SO­CIAL SCIENCES, HY­DER­ABAD

Ja­son Robert, V, BA LLB, CMR Law School, Bengaluru

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