No respite for school kids as Govt sits on reducing weight of School bags

MHRD guidelines advocate reducing school bag weight, official report gathers dust

Srinagar, May 6: The school education department has failed to implement the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) guidelines issued for reducing weight in school bags carried by children.
In November 2018, MHRD had issued directions to the school education departments of all states to formulate the guidelines to regulate the teaching of subjects and weight of school bags. Reliable sources said that the department, however, failed to implement the guidelines despite the recommendations submitted by the government panel.
Given the delay in framing the guidelines, the school going children continue to carry heavy bags on their shoulders in their tender age. A top official told KNO that the government panel constituted to submit recommendations for reducing weight in school bags has submitted its report to the administrative department in February this year.
“But there is no headway from the administrative department in this regard due to which the small school going children continue to carry this Burdon on their tender shoulders,” an official said. The MHRD had issued directions amid the public outcry over the heavyweight of school bags carried by small children to and fro from their homes.
“It is for the second time that department has shelved the issue for unknown reason. Earlier the same committee submitted its recommendations to the administrative department for reducing weight in bags but the recommendations were put at the back burner,” the official revealed. Earlier, a PIL was filed in J&K High Court wherein the department was directed to reduce the weight in schools bags.
“The initiative remains confined to papers only, the recommendations put forth by the committee are not implemented,” the official said. Both the times, the committee, headed by Chairperson JK Board of school education (BOSE) Veena Pandita had suggested various measures in their report to reduce the weight in school bags. The recommendations were also in favour of introducing common curriculum in government as well private schools in the J&K state.
“The committee report has been framed in light of MHRD guidelines issued to all the states,” the official said. Pertinently, MHRD has directed the education department that weight of school bag should not exceed 1.5 kg up to 2nd primary, 3kg for class III to V students, 4 kg in case of students of VI and VII class. It has been also stated that weight of school bag should not exceed 4.5kg for class VIII and IX students and 5kg for class 10th students.
At present, the students enrolled in private schools here in J&K state carry around a dozen books daily in their bags as the school authorities are prescribing additional books which are included in the timetable on daily basis despite Children’s School Bag Act 2006 being in place. As per the Act, a schoolbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of a child’s total body weight. But authorities in school education department have failed to ensure implementation of this Act.
Talking exclusively to a news agency, Secretary school education department, Sarita Chauhan said the department was examining the committee report and formal directions to schools will be issued after proper deliberations. “It is a serious concern for all of us and we are examining all the perspectives. Formal guidelines will be issue soon,” she said.(KNO)