Studying in cafes: Sometimes the students have nowhere else to go


Contributor S.A. commented in her article that she was unhappy with students hogging places in cafes to study.

I can understand her grievances. Perhaps, however, she should consider some of the difficulties that students face in seeking places to study.

S.A. commented that students have plenty of other spaces which they can study in, including void decks, reading corners and libraries. In truth, the void decks are often not conducive to study. Study corners and void decks typically see high human traffic, especially at peak hours or if there is a playground close by with children playing. If one lives in a busy neighbourhood, the sound of traffic may also be a genuine source of disturbance. Moreover, the lack of air conditioning or fans in void decks may also make studying difficult on hot days.

Even if there is a study corner or public library which provides adequate cooling comfort, it is typically difficult to secure places to study there. The competition for seats in such places is often intense. Every morning during the school holidays, students throng outside libraries, rushing in to get the precious few places when they open. If one comes even half an hour late, he or she can is almost certain to not discover a vacant spot. Moreover, students with late school days also find it even more disadvantageous, since by the time they finish school, they are often unable to find any available seats to study in.

While the best alternative apart from the above clearly is to study in school, this may present problems to some students as well. Firstly, some students find it inconvenient to get to school during weekends and holidays due to the distance from their homes. They may feel that it is more convenient to travel to places near their homes instead. Moreover, students may also find school a distracting place due to the "company" of friends. Finally, it may well be that some schools (based on individual policies) may be closed on Sundays and public holidays, preventing students from using it as a study venue.

Hence, it is often very difficult for students to find a conducive place to study. As such it is tempting for students to consider visiting cafes. In my mind, I don't think it is fair students should be forced into situations where they have to resort to using restaurants and cafes to study, as not only do they unintentionally hog seats, but also because they have to waste money paying for the privilege of using the space for study (ie buy drinks and food). The extent to which students lack the space to study is demonstrated by the fact that many have resorted to using the airport as a study venue even though the environment over there isn't all too conducive for a spot of revision.This is neither good for the students nor the image of Singapore.

The problem here, I feel, is not one of inconsiderate students, but instead a sheer lack of study spaces for students to gain easy access to. The way to solve this issue is for the relevant authorities to look for creative ways to open up study spaces for students to access easily rather than compelling them to spend money or disturb the public and cafe staff in the hopes of finding a good environment to study in.

This was reproduced with permission from editors of The Real Singapore.


2013 Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts' List of "Exotic" Public Studying Areas

2014 Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts' List of "Exotic" Public Studying Areas

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