Monday, March 11, 2013

Big Bag theory: Schoolchildren burdened by extra load, says study

Big Bag theory: Schoolchildren burdened by extra load, says study

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Atikh Rashid : Mon Sep 17 2012, 08:11 hrs

A study by the primary education department of Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP) has revealed that a majority of students in the district carries a heavier bag to school than the prescribed norm.
School bags of 232 students from 80 public and private schools in the district were weighed as part of the study undertaken by the research and evaluation department of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan being implemented through ZP. The schools represented urban, semi-urban, rural and tribal areas of the district.
The study showed that an alarming number of students as young as those in Class I carry bags as heavy as 5 kg and above.
As per the Children's School Bag Act, 2006, a school bag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of child's weight.
Pandurang Memane, extension officer, primary education department who carried out the project, said the average weight of the school bag increases as students move to higher grades. "Carrying heavy school bags has an adverse impact on the health of students. These kids tote heavy bags twice a day. The problem is worse in rural areas where they have to walk a long distance to school. Many complain of back pain. They also face the risk of serious back deformities," he said.
According to the study, school bags in rural areas were heavier than those in urban and semi-urban parts of the district.
"Students bring many books and other things that are non-essential. For instance, students in Class I need not bring a compass box and multiple notebooks but we found that a majority of them was bringing six to eight notebooks, all the syllabus books, compass boxes, workbooks, pads and water bottle. We even found broken toys in many school bags," said Memane.
"The school bag of a girl studying in Class V contained 18 notebooks and all the seven syllabus books. Her bag weighed 7.2 kg — almost 25-30 per cent of her weight," said Memane.
As per a 2006 state government GR, Class I and II students should only be allowed to bring language and mathematics books and a 100-page notebook. For class work, they should use a slate. Students shoud not bring compass boxes, workbooks and digests, etc.
Students in Classes III to V should be allowed to bring books of other subjects and a few workbooks as needed. Compass box should only be allowed on days when it's needed.
Students of Classes VI and VII should be allowed to bring books and notebooks as per the day's schedule.

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