Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

Karnataka limits weight of schoolbags

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  • The Karnataka government has ordered all schools in the state to ensure that the weight of a child’s schoolbag does not exceed 10 per cent of the weight of the child.
  • The order prescribed that school bags of children in Classes 1-2 cannot weigh more than 2 kg, bags of children in Classes 3-5 should weigh than 2-3 kg, and so on.

Limiting weight of schoolbags

  • The weight of a child’s school bag has been a contested issue for long, and especially so in recent months.
  • Last year, the Union Ministry of HRD directed all states and UTs to “formulate guidelines to regulate the teaching of subjects and weight of school bags in accordance with the Government of India instructions”.
  • According to the central government’s advice, weights of school bags in Classes 1-2, 3-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10 should not be more than 1.5 kg, 2-3 kg, 4 kg, 4.5 kg, and 5 kg respectively.
  • The Ministry also said that students should not be forced to carry study materials other than the prescribed textbooks to school, as per the day’s timetable.
  • Following the Centre’s directive, several state governments issued directions to schools to comply.

Why such move?

  • Most advanced countries have done away with the need for children to carry bags to school, replacing heavy books and notebooks with electronic aids such as tablet computers, and providing books at school itself.
  • The HRD Ministry’s 2018 directive was in line with its efforts over the past several years to reduce the weight of schoolbags.
  • The CBSE too, had a few years ago, nudged schools to find a way to ensure children did not have to carry heavy bags to school.
  • Child welfare NGOs have long warned that heavier-than-necessary schoolbags could induce premature back- and spine-related problems in schoolchildren.
  • CBSE has been engaged with the issue for over 15 years now, and several studies have attested to the health problems associated with heavy school bags.
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