Concerned over producing a generation of children with hunched backs and spinal problems, the Indian government has shown sympathy towards the kids by denouncing schools for overloading students with school bags and homework. A survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India reveals that 68% of pre-teen children are likely to suffer from mild back pain which can turn into chronic back pain and then at later stages result in hunchback. Also, it was estimated that around 88% of children aged between 7-13 years carry more than 45% of their body weight on their backs.
Here’s the good news for the Tricity
After Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh education department has officially shared the circular with the principals of all private and public schools, prescribing weight of school bags for classes I-X. These weight guidelines have been issued considering a child’s age such that their soft and developing spines are not affected by lifting the heavy load. The schools have been strictly instructed, ‘Under any circumstances, the weight of the school bag should not exceed 10% of the weight of the student.”
The guidelines have been listed under three heads – general guidelines, specific guidelines and sensitisation of parents and students. Schools have been advised to use book and study material prescribed by NCERT, CBSE and SCERT. Maximization of digital teaching and learning practices has been suggested so as to inculcate digital learning practices among the children. Furthermore, the schools have been told to avoid the use of guides and related materials which are usually costly and heavy. Regular counseling sessions of students, as well as the parents, should be conducted to encourage lightweight school bags made-up of light-to-carry material and broad straps.
Childhood is a time to learn, grow and have fun. Carry more than required weight in a school bag puts up an unnecessary strain on children, affecting their musculoskeletal system. This decision of the education department is the need of the hour which would prevent the students in their growing years to not to be overburdened by the weight of books.