MHRD issues guidelines to reduce burden of schoolbags

MHRD issues guidelines to reduce burden of schoolbags

The directions were issued amid the complaints of students needing to carry heavy bags to their schools.

The union ministry of human resource development has directed school education departments of all the states to formulate guidelines for rationalising teaching of subjects to regulate weight of school bags carried by students.

The directions were issued amid the complaints of students needing to carry heavy bags to their schools.

Many states have already decided to reduce the weight of bags carried by school going children, particularly of primary levels.

The school education department in Lakshadweep has asked schools in the union territory to strictly comply with the directions with “immediate effect.” Following the MHRD guidelines, schools in the island territory have been directed not assign any homework to children of 1st and 2nd primary.

Now, the J&K school education department is awaited to formulate a strategy to reduce the burden for school children.

Greater Kashmir published a series of stories regarding heavy weight of bags carried by small school going children daily on their tender shoulders.

However, despite Children’s School Bag Act 2006 students in J&K are still forced to carry heavy bags to school.

According to the the Act, a schoolbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of a child’s total body weight. But authorities in school education department have failed to ensure implementation of this law so far.

On an average a primary (1st to 3rd) grade student carries 10 to 12 books to school on an average day besides text copies which increases their physical burden and impacts their health.

A survey carried out by department of social and preventive medicine (SPM) of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar revealed that 83.7 percent of children carry bags heavier than 10 percent of their body weight. 

The survey also revealed over 50 percent school children complained of backache.

A committee was constituted a year ago to suggest measures to help reduce weight of school bags of children, but its recommendations submitted to the government are yet to be implemented.

In Lakshadweep, authorities have ordered “School should not prescribe any other subjects except language and mathematics for class I and II  and no other books except language, EVS and mathematics be prescribed for class IV to V students, as prescribed by NCERT.” 

The order reads that students should not be asked to bring additional books or any other extra material to the school.

Contrary to it the students in J&K carry around a dozen books daily in their bags as the school authorities are prescribing additional books which are included in their timetable on daily basis.

The education department in Lakshadweep has directed the schools that weight of school bag should not exceed 1.5 kg up to 2nd primary, 3kg for class III to V students, 4 kg in case of students of VI and VII class.

They have also directed the schools not to exceed weight of school bag beyond 4.5kg for class VIII and IX students and 5kg for class 10th students.

Director school education Kashmir (DSEK), G N Itoo said the administrative department has to take a decision since the guidelines are common for all states.

"We are waiting for the administrative department because they have to issue common directions for Kashmir and Jammu division. The moment we receive any direction, it will be implemented on ground," Itoo said.