Recently the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in his speech supported the transition to five-day week in schools and suggested to combine some subjects. Earlier it was told that due to 5-day week transition school year will be extended by ten days. However, many parents showed disagreement in social media saying that their children will suffer from hot weather during that period of extension. In this light, I think the decision to combine subjects will have a number of benefits.
School subjects are too specific. Generally, they can be divided into main categories: mathematics, science, social studies, and languages. Why not to combine algebra with geometry, physics with chemistry and biology in earlier grades, geography with history, Russian language with Russian literature. I heard many times people saying that in schools they are taught unnecessary things not applicable in real life which also can be immediately forgotten after school graduation. For example, many refer to too complex formulas and problems in algebra and too many facts and dates in history. If to combine subjects, only key knowledge and skills can be taught and hours per week dedicated to the subjects separately can be slightly decreased.
If subjects programs are integrated, students will be able to have more holistic understanding of things taught in school and will be less likely to get separate chunks of knowledge. Students will be able to make connections, identify patterns and develop skills not just knowledge. For instance, in geography there are themes like ethnic composition of countries, and if geography and history are integrated, students will be able to understand why particular countries have certain ethnic groups from history.
Optimization of school subjects is a necessary action if we want schoolchildren to have five-day week and not be too overloaded. In comparison to that measure, school year extension and reduction of holidays seems not to be a better solution to me, what do you think?