‘Children not weightlifters’: Madras High Court bans homework for Class I, II CBSE students

The judge also mentioned that schools are unnecessarily pressuring the children by teaching 'irrelevant' subjects which are not included in the curriculum by NCERT or CBSE.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 30, 2018 5:01:52 pm
Madras High Court directed the use of National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) books to be made mandatory in schools.

The Madras High Court on Tuesday passed an order prohibiting homework for the Class I and II CBSE students. Stating that children are not weightlifters, the court directed the Centre to instruct the state governments to reduce the weight of the bags of school children. The state governments were asked to ensure that the weight of the bag should not be more than 10 per cent of the weight of the child. The court also directed the use of National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) books to be made mandatory in schools.

Justice N Kirubakaran referring to the orders issued by Telangana and Maharashtra government, asked the Centre to direct the state governments and governments of Union Territories to formulate a “Children School Bag Policy”. A policy which helps in reducing the weight of the satchels in line with the guidelines issued by either state.

The court on Tuesday passed an interim order on a petition filed by M Purushothaman, an advocate, seeking a direction to CBSE schools to make the use of NCERT books mandatory.  The judge concurred with the submissions of the petitioner-advocate that CBSE schools are prescribing homework to children of classes I and II and it was prohibited by NCERT. With regard to homework, an affidavit filed by secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy of Human Resource Development Ministry, specifically mentions, “there is no homework upto class II and (homework can be given) two hours a week from class III.”

Referring to various research studies and parenting psychologist, the judge in his order stated, “Many experts find that homework is beneficial only to older kids whereas young children are notably lacking in ‘executive control’, the ability to concentrate, to follow directions, to control impulses and keep the details in mind. Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect the KG students, first and second class students to do homework, assignment on their own and homework for class I and II children have to be prohibited.”

Referring to various experts in the medical field, he added, “The doctors say that on an average five or six-year-old needs about 11 hours of sleep each night and if they leave for school early in the morning, they should have an early bedtime. Therefore, homework would reduce the sleep hours of the growing children,” he said, adding that NCERT rightly prescribed no homework for classes I and II students.”

He also said, “It is shocking and surprising to note that grammar and computer science have been prescribed for Class I students. It is not understandable as to how five-year-old children could comprehend the concept of computer or understand ‘General Knowledge’. Further teaching of grammar shall not be a subject for children as per NCERT syllabus Vol I Elementary level.”

The judge also mentioned that schools are unnecessarily pressuring the children by teaching ‘irrelevant’ subjects which are not included in the curriculum by NCERT or CBSE. Rapping the state board schools the judge said, “Similar is the case with the state board schools and in other systems. Young children are taxed with homework and unnecessary subjects.”

He also said that the state boards too should follow the directions issued by NCERT. The judge after issuing the directions, sought for a report from CBSE and NCERT within two weeks.

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