Lighten the burden

To come to he point straight here are some suggestions for reducing the load our children carry daily on their backs.

Introduction of locker system or storage benches

  • Funds to be raised from the infrastructural maintenance fee, already being paid to the school.
  • The books and notebooks of various subjects can be left behind or taken back home according to the homework and test patterns.
  • One-time investment by the school.

Worksheets replacing notebooks

  • Carrying two separate notebooks per subject, for class work and homework respectively adds up to the weight of the schoolbags.
  • Or if not separate notebooks, a considerably thick notebook for each subject is preferred in order to fit for the complete syllabus.
  • The homework notebook can be eliminated altogether if worksheets would be distributed among the students every day. It would comprise 10 pages at the most, for the homework of eight subjects.
  • In this manner, the weight of eight notebooks shall be reduced to mere eight pages or so, reducing the weight of the school bag substantially.
  • The aggregate of the worksheets can be collected by the student at the end of the week to carry it back home to maintain the record and for parental supervision.
  • It is economical to the school because in the age of technology, a printout costs less than . 25 paise or a Xerox copy costs even less than that.

Aggregate notebooks

  • According to the most academic calendars, the scheme of examinations and syllabus is divided into five parts; Unit I, Unit II, Term I, Unit III and Term II.
  • The class work notebook happens to be the main source of study during the examinations and is thus irreplaceable.
  • Two subjects can be aggregated into a notebook that can accommodate a unit from both subjects.
  • This means that instead of eight notebooks there shall be only four notebooks which will be replaced after the end of each unit exam.
  • The aggregate notebooks are not intended to be in the form of a thick or big notebook but a reasonably paged one, just sufficient enough for the syllabus of one unit.
  • For example, a notebook shall bear Unit I of Math’s and Unit I of English simultaneously, and will be replaced after the exams for Unit II of the same subjects and so on.
  • Teachers usually insist on getting big and long notebooks that can last throughout the year. As a result, it leads to physical labor on behalf of the children to carry such notebooks for all subjects on every single day of the year.
  • Dividing the notebooks is convenient both for the students and the teachers as there would be no loss of content nor will the students be overburdened.

Drinking water facility

  • Carrying water bottles around their necks or in the side pocket of their bags is a needless burden
  • Installing a water dispenser or two in each floor of the school would clearly eliminate the need of carrying 1.5 liters of water on your shoulders

Ban on slinging bags

  • Some children seem to prefer sling bags which hang down from their shoulders to the back on one side only. With the number of books that are necessarily to be carried, the sling bag affects the posture and comfort of such children and should thus be shunned by the school.

            On September 2019 I approached Honorable High Court by filing third contempt plea after government failed to take decision with regard to unburdening of heavy school bags. Next date of hearing is on 6th December where Government will be submitting its response regarding unburdening of heavy school bags. Earlier Court has already disposed of two contempt petitions, one filed in 2017 and other in 2018. In 2016 PIL was filed for easing weight of school bags, JK High Court directed state government to consider petition and solve matter within three months.

It appears to us that conscience of Education Department, Director Education, private school authorities are in a lull. They have turned blind eye to the sufferings of school children owing to weight of school bags. How long restrict tiny tots to weight and labor at tender age?  Great minds carried good heads and hearts over their shoulders and not heavy school bags.

I, on behalf of parents and school children appeal Lieutenant Governor, Secretary School Education Kashmir, Director Education Kashmir, administration of private schools to implement orders of High Court and end menace of educational child labor i.e. heavy school bags.

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