Saturday should be off for schools and colleges.
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Children, youngsters and professionals in India are already under unnecessary pressure to perform and compete against their peers. In addition, they're made to go to work or attend class on Saturdays. This leaves them little room to develop their own hobbies, interests and talents.
There are several short term and long term benefits to enforcing a 5 day (or 40 hour) work-week. They are:
Short term benefits
1) Reduced Fuel consumption: Students and Employees commuting to work one day less can see upto a 16% decrease in fuel consumption every day. Less Fuel consumption potentially means lower prices and/or less expenditure on fuel.
Lesser fuel consumption is beneficial both at national level and at an individual level.
2) Decreased Absenteeism: A break on a Saturday lets employees catch up with their family chores and still relax on a sunday. This would reduce the likelihood of employees being exhausted during the work-week, which would therefore decrease absenteeism.
Students would also tremendously benefit from a break on Saturday. They'd have extra hours to study, develop new skills, take up part time work or relax more while simultaneously saving money on commute to school or college.
3) Increased productivity: Absence of a deadline decreases productivity. Having 2 days off tends to create work schedules with deadlines set on Fridays. Solid deadlines along with the added incentive of having 2 days off could have a positive effect on productivity. The same benefit can be seen for students as well. Students and educational institutions will have additional room to set up tests and assessments on Mondays, since they're given more time to prepare on the weekend.
4) Improved morale: What happens inside the work place can often be linked to what's happening outside the workplace. Students and employees being given additional time to pursue their hobbies and interests rather than sticking to their primary occupations could improve morale. There are several benefits to an improved morale, some of which are
a) Fewer suicide rates.
b) Opportunities for additional sources of income.
c) Decrease in domestic violence.
d) Happier living
5) Reduced traffic congestion: Employees, workers and students having to commute fewer days in a week, means lesser traffic congestion. India particularly could use this benefit, given its massive population and limited infrastructure, notwithstanding decreased strain on the environment.
Long term benefits:
1) Better social harmony: More and more families are turning double-income,and people are spending a lot less time with their families these days. Even for single-income families, the role of the father is diminishing every day. This could have serious and disastrous consequences in our society; something that has already been experienced by our western counterparts in the US and Europe during the 70s and 80s.
More family time is always good for the society. Children especially need to socialize with their family members so that they grow up into happy well rounded individuals. This can only been done in a stress-free environment. A holiday on saturday could get parents to stop bringing work home and give their attention to their kids instead.
2) Fewer reports of crime
Better upbringing of children and lesser stress significantly decreases violent crime both in the short term and long term. Less stress means confrontational situations are created less often, which means lesser crime in the long run.
3) Enhanced cultural growth
When children, youngsters and adults have more time off from their primary occupations, they have more time for cultural pursuits. This could include anything amongst reading books, watching movies, surfing on the internet, attending concerts or learning music. When more people consume culture, more cultural works are generated. An enhanced cultural growth marks the birth of an advanced civilization.
Increasing time and space in an individual's life for such cultural exchange, also helps in an overall development of that individual. Happy well rounded individuals make for happy well rounded societies.
4) Better quality education
It's not enough when students learn facts and figures in school. They should have enough time and space to process that information and correlate it with what they see around them. A 6 day work-week neither provides this time, nor does it allow them to cram all that information that was originally intended.
A holiday on saturday would significantly improve student performance, both in school and outside. It also gives educational institutions room to conduct additional tests and assessments on students, thereby helping them hone their skills even further.
5) Better quality workforce
In today's cut-throat world, most of the skills are gained outside of work. It's also important for an employee to constantly hone his/her skills. But there isn't sufficient time to do this in our current 6-day work schedule. A break on Saturday would free up the mind and allow employees to acquire information at their own pace and improve their skills drastically. This would in turn improve the quality of workers in India.
6) Happier people
Happier people means fewer crimes, more efficiency, better economy and more talent retention within India. The possibilities are endless. But this can be achieved only when the working man in India is kept happy. Enforcing a 5 day work-week is an easy way to achieve it.
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