Friday, Oct 24, 2014

To lighten student load, govt puts out guidelines on school bags

Recommendations range from ‘correct lifting and carrying techniques’ to buying ‘child-friendly bags’. (Archive) Recommendations range from ‘correct lifting and carrying techniques’ to buying ‘child-friendly bags’. (Archive)
Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | Posted: May 11, 2014 2:05 am

Taking note of the “heavy burden” carried by the capital’s children in the form of school bags, the Directorate of Education (DoE) has issued guidelines for principals and parents.

The recommendations, which range from teaching children “correct lifting and carrying techniques” to buying “child-friendly bags”, have been drafted by a committee formed by the DoE especially for this purpose.

“It has been observed that schoolchildren carry very heavy bags to school, which is affecting their health adversely. These children need to be spared from such burden. All heads of schools are instructed to ensure that school bags are not heavy and they should monitor it on a regular basis,” the department guidelines stated.

Besides devising proper timetables for students to “ensure equitable distribution of weight of school bags”, the DoE has asked schools to “discourage children from bringing reference books” and to “plan a staggered homework schedule”.

“School principals and teachers should frame a well-designed timetable for each section of the class, so that children do not have to carry too many books or notebooks to school each day and also ensure that the co-curricular activity periods are held with the other periods on a daily basis to have an equitable distribution of weight of school bags,” the guidelines said. “Staggered homework should be planned. And the student should be discouraged from bringing reference books and other books to school,” the guidelines add.

Other instructions include directions to parents to supervise when their children pack their bags so that they don’t carry more than what their timetables require, and asking parents to buy child-friendly bags.

“Parents should be requested to buy child-friendly bags, which are comfortable to use and light in weight. This needs to be reinforced at every level — principal, faculty heads, teachers and parents,” the guidelines said.

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