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School day shortened in Cambodia amid heatwave fears for children

Classes will end an hour early until the rainy season arrives.

Schoolgirls cycle home (Heng Sinath/AP)
Schoolgirls cycle home (Heng Sinath/AP)

Cambodian authorities have ordered a one-hour reduction in the length of school days because of concerns that students and teachers may fall ill from a prolonged heatwave.

The country’s education minister Hang Chuon Naron said in an announcement on Friday that the shortened hours will remain in effect until the rainy season starts, which usually occurs in May.

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Schoolboys walk home (Heng Sinath/AP)

The current heat wave, in which temperatures are regularly reaching as high as 41C (106F), is one of the longest in memory.

Most schools in Cambodia lack air conditioning, prompting concern that temperatures inside classrooms could rise to unhealthy levels.

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A wooden boat sits on the ground during the dry season outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Heng Sinath/AP)

School authorities were instructed to watch for symptoms of heat stroke and urge pupils to drink more water.

The new hours cut 30 minutes off the beginning of the school day and 30 minutes off the end.

School authorities instituted a similar measure in 2016.

PA

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