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Lighter School Bags

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

In light of the recent order by the HRD ministry setting control parameters on the weight of schoolbags carried by children, various professionals discuss the issue with Monarose Sheila Pereira

Madhuri D’Souza, Headmistress, Supari Tank Municipal English School
I say this was a long pending action which can be classified under ‘better late than never’. Education or schools should ideally be temples of learning where the child has an enjoyable experience while soaking up knowledge unlike today where schools have become all about how much can be crammed into a child’s head at a time. Schools have become competitive; each in the race to prove who can accommodate the maximum subjects in the curriculum. Caught amidst this crossfire are the children whose shoulders droop by the extra baggage they are required to carry. I believe teaching should be qualitative rather than quantitative. It should include fewer books, more practicals, more activities, more worksheets and more interaction.

Ganesh Gawali, Psychologist
The decision is good but the reduced weight of the school bags should not compromise on the quality of education. If you teach three to four subjects a day, it will make a difference in reducing the weight of the school bag. The current semester pattern is also good. Children should not get lax about their studies. Their education should not suffer.

Belinda Suares, Parent
I think it is a good decision to reduce the weight of school bags. Why burden the small children? I have seen them lug around with extremely heavy school bags full of so many text books and note books. The focus of education should be on understanding and grasping the subject. Students should not be burdened with unnecessary subjects and books which add to the weight of the school bag.

Aakanksha Kanojia, Counseling psychologist
Heavy school bags are the most terrifying thought for a child. As an average adult weighing 75kg, do you think carrying a 15kg laptop bag sounds convenient? As per the trend these days, children are carrying school bags approximately 20% of their body weight, which is equal to an adult carrying a 15kg laptop bag! This not only causes physical discomfort but also leads to negative psychological impact which can be manifold. Stress of carrying the bag every day is one the major factors leading to loss of interest in going to school. Sometimes carrying fewer books and notebooks to school makes a teacher show apathy. A child with a bigger bag is considered more intelligent or studious which may lead to unhealthy competition to bring heavier bags.  This problem becomes amplified for the children who are physically weak. The exhaustion and tiredness due to carrying heavy bags impacts concentration and attention span which creates other behavioral issues like bullying, unhealthy competition among the children, and how they associate with themselves (negative body image) broken self-esteem and confidence.

Gracy Fernandes, Parent
The weight of the bag differs for State Board, CBSE Board, ICSE Board and IGCSE Board. Due to our competitive educations system parents are pressuring the little children's physical and mental health. One positive aspect is that the HRD Ministry is working on the syllabus by culling irrelevant or obsolete content which is the major requirement in today's education system. They should consider a syllabus which is required in our daily lifestyle. The health of the child is more important and the system must impart knowledge by different methods.

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