The school has issued a new directive on punctuality. Kylene Wu & Loh Chuan Junn race against time to find out more
“If you are late, you are absent” – this is the message that NP is sending out to students with the implementation of a new punctuality rule.
On Nov 15, the previous “15 minutes’ grace period” was abolished and students are now expected to be on time for class, or risk getting marked absent.
Before 2004, the punctuality rule was exercised at the discretion of each individual school. It was later changed into a school-wide grace period of 13 minutes in 2004 and later, a 15 minutes’ grace period.
This is NP’s bid to curb the problem of latecoming as well as to educate students on the importance of
While surprised by the sudden announcement of a new rule, many students said that they acknowledge that being on time is an important habit
Echoing this sentiment, Ms Andrea Chan, a lecturer at the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, feels that keeping to the scheduled time is “a true reflection of your genuine interest about the issue”.
She adds, “In most situations, it is all about timing. When one misses the chance, then it’s gone, and the latecomer
Ms Heidi Chong, a psychologist who lectures at the School of Humanities, explains that students who are chronic latecomers have a “lack of motivation, little concern about attendance issues, and [have] commitments outside of school”.
However, she acknowledges that there are “possible genuine unforeseen circumstances that can result in lateness”.
Indeed, one major concern of students is the issue of getting penalised unfairly.
“Sometimes, it is difficult to judge traffic conditions and you just end up being late even if you had made the effort to leave home early,” says Tan Yi Xuan, 18, a second-year Business & Accountancy student.
Most lecturers unanimously agreed that there will always be exceptions to the rule when the circumstances merit so.
Ms Chan says, “Ultimately, it really boils down to the attitude of the latecomer. If he comes in late without even apologising, and continues doing so every time, then it is not an acceptable behaviour.”
“On the other hand, it will be different if the latecomer shows signs of being remorseful and makes an effort to be on time the next time.”
Punctuality: A matter of courtesy and consideration
Q: What was the initial purpose of a grace period and what prompted the latest review on school rules on punctuality?
A: The 15-minute grace period had actually been around for several years. From time to time, we would receive feedback from lecturers that they find it difficult to make good use of the first 15 minutes of a class due to disruptions caused by students joining the class late during the grace period.
This [sparked] a review, where it was determined that a better system would be to remove the grace period, start classes on time and end them 15 minutes earlier to allow students time to move to the next class. This would optimise teaching and learning outcomes for all students.
Q: What are your views on the importance of punctuality in society today?
A: It is always good to be punctual, be it in a workplace, classroom setting or social occasion, as a matter of courtesy and consideration for others. Most NP students do make it a point to be punctual, and this will stand them in good stead wherever they go.
Q: Some students say that to have no grace period at all is rather unfair, because of various reasons that may be out of a student’s control, such as traffic jams or other unforseen circumstances. What is your view on this?
A: The new system aims to single out the habitual latecomers rather than students who may at times be late due to unforeseen circumstances. The objective is educational, and not just an exercise to enforce the punctuality rule rigidly. Lecturers will exercise some discretion and flexibility. Students who are late for class due to unexpected situations can inform their lecturers, and all reasonable explanations will be accepted.
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