Even as the state government is thinking of ways to reduce the weight of school bags, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) is set to become the first civic body to get rid of school bags. From the coming academic year, Class I and II students studying in TMC schools will go to school without bags.
The civic body has started making arrangements for students to leave their books and other stationery in the schools itself. “Every student will have a locker on their desks in the classroom. Besides, we will provide them with worksheets for classwork, which can be attached in a box file and left in school. This way, the student doesn’t need to carry books to school. Hence, no bags will be needed,” said Manish Joshi Deputy TMC Municipal Commissioner.
At present, there are over 130 primary and 13 secondary schools under TMC, with nearly 7,000 students and more than 100 teachers. TMC’s education officer Raghunath Beldar said, “As a pilot project, we will implement the system for lower classes, that is class I and II in the beginning of the year. Later, the same will be extended for higher classes after checking the feasibility and making necessary arrangements. Once the school reopens in June, students will come to school without school bags.”
According to Joshi, the initiative was a result of a series of meetings with school teachers, education experts and consultants. Joshi said that TMC’s education department is also working on making teaching and learning in classrooms more interactive.
The TMC is also planning to get digital boards to replace the blackboards and providing tablet PC’s to senior students. The said project, according to Thane Mayor Sanjay More, is an attempt to keep pace with private schools in Thane. “We want to change people’s perspective towards civic schools. By making these changes, we will encourage students to come to school and reduce the dropout rate. We also want to provide quality education to our students, majority of whom come from slums and cannot afford to go private schools,” said More.