Back to schools without caring for the ‘back’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Jun 2018 10:43:57


By Kaushik Bhattacharya,

Despite research and discussion on heavy school bags affecting students’ health, the Government has failed to take serious cognisance of matter. The students, once again are made to carry the heavy load of books and noteboks on their back and find themselves helpless. Summer is winding down and the back-to-school shopping season is well under way. Students are now busy in preparation for new session in school. They are rushing to markets with parents and friends to purchase books, notebooks, bags, uniforms etc. However, education has no longer remained joyful today for students as they are also preparing for carrying heavy loads for another academic session of their schools. Even after the directives from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and some legislative norms there has been no improvement in the situation. Children have been still carrying school bags much heavier than the prescribed upper limit of 10 per cent of the body weight of the child.

Government has tried many things but still the situation remained the same and the children are the victim of it.As per medical experts, the serious consequences of carrying heavy loads of the school bag can lead to premature aging of the spine and can even cause permanent damage to the spinal cord. Children’s backbone is not strong enough to carry such heavy loads daily, climbing 2-3 floors to reach the classrooms and in some cases climbing the same height in the flats they stay in.

Based on Professor Yashpal Committee’s recommedations, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in 2004, framed guidelines to reduce the load of School Bags in Kendriya Vidyalayas. The guidelines, however, remained only on paper and The HRD ministry never framed any regulation for the purpose, told Retired Associate Professor Rajendra Dani to ‘The Hitavada’. Dani has been working on the issue for the last several years. Through his research he has made several representations to the Government.

According to a school principal (who preferred to remain anonymous), “E-learning helped students to reduce the burden of books to some extent, however Governments should take more steps to reduce weight of bags. At our level, we instruct parents to send those books only which are essential for the day.”  Curriculum demands students to study more subjects and obviously bring more books to the school. A student has to attend about eight-nine classes everyday. Therefore, a student has to carry that much number of books and notebooks with them. Parents too want their children to be provided the best education no matter if the child has to carry a few extra books and copies.

Sushant Wath, an expert said, boards should print and publish each subject book in the form of semester pattern which is to be taught and examined in the respective semester. It will help to reduce the weight of school bags.It is high time we make the children to have the happy childhood during their schooling. Governments should consider this matter on urgent basis and take swift action to reduce the weight of the school bags.