WITH THE state education department cracking the whip and setting a November 30 deadline to principals to follow the weight norms of school bags, now the education officers are set to hold surprise raids anytime this week to check if any school is violating them.
Deputy Director of Education, Pune, Ramchandra Jadhav said, on the lines of the raids that were conducted in October, schools are going to be checked randomly on whether they are following the mandatory guidelines on weight of school bags. In case, they are found to be violating them, then strict action will be taken against the school, Jadhav said.
As per the norms set out by the state education department based on the directions of the Bombay High Court, the weight of the school bag should not exceed 10 per cent of child’s body weight.
“The inspections, involving all the education officers, will be held on a large scale. Earlier, in October, when we held the inspections, we found the weight of school bags to be double of the permissible weight. At that time, we asked the schools to ensure that the weight be lessened to avoid strict action against them. Even now,no lenience will be shown and if any school is seen violating the norm, then a show-cause notice will be issued to the school. If need be, action may also be taken against the principal and we may even recommend to stop salary increment for one cycle,” said Jadhav.
Jadhav led the last drive on October 6 this year, conducting random checks on nearly 200 schools to check the weight of school bags vis-a-vis the weight of students. On inspection, it was found that students were carrying a lot of unnecessary baggage to schools like dictionary, school diary, storybooks, extra school books and workbooks, books of subjects not included in timetable, heavy tiffin boxes and water bottles, two to three different compass boxes, sport-related books, skipping ropes, skates and such things. In most schools, no lockers were available for students.
Jadhav said that in the last raid, randomly, five to 10 students were asked to come out with their bags. Their weight was compared with that of the bags to determine if the norm is being followed. “We will do a similar exercise. We will also compare the last inspection report with the current one, to ascertain if action needs to be taken. For instance, some schools were told to install lockers for storage purposes, while others were asked to install filtered water systems so that students don’t have to carry heavy bottles. We will check if the school has followed the instructions or not,,” said Jadhav.