The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has sent a circular to all the heads of schools affiliated to it regarding reducing the weight of the school bags. Schools have been directed to make students, parents as well as teachers aware about the adverse health effect which can cause a heavy burden.
In the circular, CBSE Director KK Choudhury (Academic, Research, Training and Innovation) said, "Heavier school bags are known to have adverse effects on health of growing children and if such bags are used for a prolonged period, the impact may be irreversible. Young children whose spine is at a crucial stage of growth, are the most susceptible ones to hazards such as back pain, muscle pain, shoulder pain, fatigue and in extreme cases, vulnerable to distortion of spinal cord or shoulders."
What schools can do?
- Ask students to abide strictly by the timetable and relate the adverse effects of fatigue caused due to heavy bags on their day to day performance in class
- Encourage students to repack their bags on daily basis
- To avoid making students carry unnecessary articles, textbooks, workbooks that are not needed
- Check school bags randomly to ensure the proper weight of school bags
- There should not be any homework assigned to students of classes I-II and they need not bring their school bag.
What teachers can do?
- Use alternative methods of teaching like the ones based on ICT to alleviate the dependency on textbooks
- Make pairs of children and these pairs may be allowed to share textbooks.
What parents can do?
- Put the bag tightly to the child's back, rather than hanging off his/her shoulders
- Children are often in the habit of storing things in their school bags, therefore regular cleaning of the school bag is essential
In addition to all the above mentioned measures, schools may take any other possible measure leading to reduction of the weight of school bag as they deem fit.