The new academic session in government as well as private schools commenced from November 14 which also coincides with Children's day. This was the apt time for J&K government to issue guidelines to schools for reducing weight of school bags carried by small school going children. The timely decision by government would have relieved the students who otherwise carry heavy weight school bags on their shoulders in their tender age.
But, given the indifferent attitude of government it seems that government initiative of reducing weight of school bags was mere an eyewash for people, who raised hue and cry over the issue-heavy burden carried by small children on their shoulders.
Besides befooling people, the J&K government even mislead High Court over the issue. During the hearing of PIL on August 05 this year, the school education department informed the High Court that it has constituted the panel to recommend measures for reducing the weight of school bags. However, in reality, the committee was constituted 23 days after hearing was listed in High Court. The government on August 28 issued an order for constitution of 4 member panel to suggest measures for reducing weight of school bags. The committee was supposed to submit its report within a weeks time but it took almost two months for the committee to submit its report to the government. The report was handed over by Chairman JK Board of School Education (BOSE) Veena Pandita-who was heading the committee, in last week of October to secretary to government in school education Department.
Had government been serious to workout some measures to reduce the burdon of small children, it would have issued guidelines to the schools with strict directions to implement the same from the new academic session. But the government shelved the committee report under the garb of 'fine tuning'. But neither the report was fine tuned nor the burden got reduced from the shoulders of the students.
The non seriousness of the authorities can be gauged from the fact that the government remained as mute spectator when the private schools, on the onset of new academic session put up their book stalls for students and asked the parents to purchase slef prescribed books from the campus or from the selected book shops.
Instead of acting as mute spectator, the government should have issued the guidelines for the schools at proper time so that these institutions would "prescribe" books for the children accordingly.
The schools finished its sale, started new academic session but the government is still busy in "fine tuning" of the report.
Earlier, the government according to media reports expressed its concern over health of students and asked the private schools to reframe their time table. The directions were issued in mid session and found almost no takers on ground. Now when it was their own time to streamline the issue, the government successfully played its tactics .
The government should stop befooling the public particularly parents whose wards are carrying heavy burden on their shoulders.
The initiatives should not result turn mere an eyewash for the society. Let government take practical steps to ease burden of students instead of befooling school children and their parents.