Back-breaking problem of bags

Last Updated 25 September 2013, 16:30 IST

A problem that has been simmering for more than a decade has now become palpable. Hundreds of parents worried about the health of their kids are now unequivocally supporting a campaign ‘Save My Back’, in the hope that it could bring some respite to their kids from heavy school bags.

The campaign is gradually gaining momentum because problem of back pain reported by school children is becoming a new topic of concern. It has raised an alarm on the dangers associated with improper weight of school bag and use.

“A child’s backbone is not strong enough to carry this much weight daily, sometimes up to the third floor of schools and flats. This is creating lumps, like in camels,”
writes Sreeja V on the campaign page.

Another parent, Anasuya Boligarla, comments, “As a doctor and mother, I know the serious consequences of carrying heavy loads on the backs of the children. It will lead to premature aging of the spine and injuries. As a lone mother, I cannot educate the schools.”

Responding to these concerns, Rahul Verma, the director of Uday Foundation, which began this campaign says, “Based on the recommendation of the Professor Yashpal Committee, the HRD ministry had asked the NCERT to rework school syllabus to reduce the load of books. The Central Board of Secondary Education has also framed guidelines for its affiliated schools to reduce backpack loads. But nothing has been done
till date.”

Rahul, who is presently fighting a legal battle against junk food availability in schools, condemn schools for not following the guidelines to reduce backpack loads. “If there are guidelines then there should be a mechanism to keep a tab on whether it is being followed or not. Likewise, schools should also take the matter seriously. They should formulate the time table in such a way a student should carry minimum text-books each day. They should also provide locker facility,” says Rahul.

Meanwhile, schools in the City claim that they are trying every possible way to reduce the school bag weight. “We are following the digital methodology and making pedagogy more students friendly. Like, we have reduced the overall paperwork. Information related to homework and assignments is now being given online,” says Mukesh Kumar, Supervisor and Head, IT at Delhi Public School, R.K.Puram.

Talking about the online process, Mukesh diverts the attention towards e-learning classes that are trying to change and learning methodology.

When Metrolife spoke to Divya Lal, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Educomp Smartclass, she says, “Though the learning is getting digital textbooks remain an integral part of the curriculum. It may have brought down the usage of multiple books for one particular subject but still students require something to read.”

She says, “I know many schools which are following the concept of smart classes to a great extent. In those schools, parents have an impression that nothing is being done in the classroom. It is for this reason textbooks still
remain an essential part of teaching.”

However, she believes that new learning methodologies may not have direct relation to the bag weight. Instead, it has only reduced the psychological load on the students.

(Published 25 September 2013, 16:30 IST)

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