Authorities in slumber as school bags get heavier in Kashmir
Srinagar: The school education department is yet to formulate a strategy to reduce the weight of bags carried by the school going children, exposing the sluggishness of the authorities at the helm of affairs.
Notably, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) Government of India has recently issued common guidelines to all the states to formulate the guidelines to regulate weight of school bags for children enrolled in schools.
While some states already framed guidelines for the schools with regard to reducing weight of school bags, the J&K state is lagging behind and forcing students to carry heavy school bags on their tender shoulders.
The MHRD has directed the schools not to assign homework to the students of class 1st and 2nd primary and not to prescribe any other subjects except language and mathematics to them.
It has also directed that no other books except language, EVS and mathematics be prescribed for class IV to V students, as prescribed by NCERT.
The MHRD has also directed the school 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.
However, the students in the Valley are yet to see any relief from carrying heavy burden of books on their shoulders.
“In wake of the MHRD guidelines, most of the states have started implementation of the orders to bring relief to the students but in J&K the authorities are in deep slumber,” said a parent.
The students in J&K state are forced to carry heavy bags despite Children’s School Bag Act 2006 being in place according to which a schoolbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of a child’s total body weight.
On an average a primary (1st to 3rd) class student carries 10 to 12 books in his bag besides text copies which increases the burden on his tender shoulders, thus impacting his/her health, says an official of the education department, wishing not to be named.
A survey carried by department of social and preventive medicine (SPM) of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, had revealed that 83.7 percent of children carry bags heavier than 10 percent of body weight. It also revealed that over 50 percent school children complained of backache.
Even if a committee was constituted a year ago to suggest measures to help reduce the weight of school bags of children, its recommendations submitted to the government are yet to be implemented.
Contrary to it the students here carry around a dozen books daily in their bags as the school authorities are prescribing additional books which are included in timetable on daily basis.
Director school education Kashmir (DSEK), G N Itoo said they have not received any directions from the administrative department to regulate the weight of heavy school bags.
“The guidelines have been issued by MHRD but they are to be processed at administrative level before its implementation on ground. But we are yet to receive any directions in this regard,” Itoo said.
Pertinently, a report with recommendations of reducing heavy weight in school bags, is gathering dust in the school education department from past more than one year.