Spare the bag, dont spoil the child

WEIGHED DOWN

Little shoulders drooping under the load of heavy bags is a common sight in Delhi. And this despite Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) guidelines that students up to Std II should be allowed to leave their bags in the school itself.

Apart from causing health problems like fatigue, muscle strain, back pain, distortion of the spine and rounding of the shoulders, carrying heavy bags can also lead to serious consequences like collapsing and getting injuries due to losing balance.

Recently, a 12-year-old boy fell and died in his school in the City. According to 7Delhi Police, he was leaning against the railing in his school and lost his balance owing to the weight of his school bag.
According to research, the weight of a school bag should be less than 10 per cent of the student’s body weight.

Mrigank Aggarwal, physiotherapist at Tamanna Special School in Vasant Vihar  feels that heavy bags, especially side bags, can lead to pain in shoulder, back and neck and cause spine problem and postural defect as these bags are not symmetrical.  However, backpacks are better because of their symmetrical nature.

While most schools defy  guidelines laid out by the CBSE, parents are unaware of them even though they agree that their wards’ school bags do weigh between four and six kgs every day.

Mother of Gunika Arora, a Std II student says that her daughter’s bag weighs between four and six kgs every day as she has to carry around 10 text books and notebooks, a water bottle, lunch box and sometimes skates also. “My eight-year-old daughter, who studies in Std II carries around a four-kg bag every day. She complains of leg pain and backache. There are not one but various guidelines but who is following that?” enquires Sakshi Arora.

Parents want the school bags of their children become lighter but without compromising on studies. Although, according to the guidelines, no homework should be given to children up to Std II and an alternative to homework should be introduced for the students from Std III to V.

“The load on  students of CBSE is lesser in comparison to Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) board. School bags’ burden should definitely go away from the children, but how can they do away with homework?” asks Bonani Bose, mother of a lower KG student.

Some schools are making the efforts to comply with the guidelines of the board by doing away with homework and keeping students’ books within the school premises. “Books of students till Std IV are kept in school and instead of homework, we give them assignments. But if some student has not finished the classwork in school then that has to be sent back as homework,” informs Madhulika Sen, principal of Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar.

“Sometimes students carry all the books to avoid forgetting any book required on a particular day as per the timetable,” she adds.

Chairman of education committee of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Mahinder Nagpal says that students of the civic body’s schools do not carry more books than prescribed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) unlike private schools. However, he admits that MCD schools do not comply with some of the CBSE guidelines on school bags.

“Students of all classes of MCD schools get only those books which have been prescribed by NCERT, but they do carry bags. After all they don’t come to school for picnic,” says Mahinder.

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