Educationalists of Andhra Pradesh have demanded that the state government take cognizance of the recent Madras High Court’s order to the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) directing it to not overburden children with books and not assign homework to students in classes I and II.
The bench has also ordered the state governments and governments of Union Territories to legislate on a ‘Children School Bag Policy’ as the governments of Maharashtra and Telangana has done. The state governments have also been asked to ensure that the weight of the bags do not surpass 10% of the student’s weight.
Last year, the Telangana government brought out an order with an aim to reduce the weight of school bags and prescribed guidelines in terms of the weight of bags for each class. As per the order, the weight of school bag, including the textbooks and notebooks and the weight of the empty school bag, for class I and II should not exceed 1.5 kg; for classes III to V it should be about 2 to 3 kgs; for classes VI and VII it should not exceed 4 kg. With regard to Classes VIII and IX, it should not be more than 4.5 kg and in the case of Class X, the weight of the bag should not be more than 5kg.
Andhra Pradesh government too has been contemplating introducing norms regulating the weight of school bags, so much so that the state education department last year decided on providing locker facilities and shelves in schools to all students to help reduce the weight of school bags. However, no concrete steps were taken and there is no limit on the weight of the bags in Andhra Pradesh. In the absence of any guidelines, even class I students are forced to carry bags weighing more than 3kgs.
Doctors warn that heavy schools bag can alter the posture as well as lead to various orthopaedic issues, including spinal problems. The majority of schools in the city do not have lockers or enough shelves for students to store their books and are consequently, forced to carry all their books to and fro from school.
Convenor of Right to Education forum, Narava Prakasa Rao, pointed out that neighbouring states such as Kerala and Telangana are in the process of introducing specific guidelines to make textbooks slimmer and school bags lighter. “The heavy backpacks of students have been a point of discussion for about two decades. The government should seriously think about the health of students and set down some guidelines to make them lighter,” said Prakasa Rao.
Dr MV Vijaysekhar, a renowned neurosurgeon of Visakhapatnam city said students carrying heavy bags during their prime years of growth will have a lasting effect on their health. “It will also lead to altered posture,” said Dr Vijaysekhar.
When contacted, district education officials said that there is no particular order on the weight of the books. “Several schools have set up lockers for students to keep their books; so that they do not need to take all the books back home,” said an official.
Source: THE TIMES OF INDIA