The federal government of India has ordered all schools in the country to limit the weight of school bags. A set of federal guidelines has been issued, prescribing the weight limit for school bags, based on a child’s age. The directive came after India’s Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry conducted a survey, which revealed that 88% of pre-teen school children are carrying school bags weighing more than forty-five percent (45%) of their body weight.
It is estimated that children at ages between 7 and 13, particularly those whose bones are still at the development stage, are likely to experience mild back pain that could lead to chronic back pain. If they continue to do so, they are at risk of having hunched backs once their bones reach the stage of full development.
Carrying of heavy school bags is even more difficult in India’s rural areas, where children walk great distances. In some areas, children even have to carry books on their head while fording rivers just to seek education.
The weights prescribed include the lunch box and water bottle even if carried in a separate bag. Moreover, the federal guidelines include a suggestion for schools not to assign homework during weekends to ensure that children will not be constrained to carry school books home in order to address weekend school work.
Still, some sectors opposed the current federal guidelines, whilst seeking court intervention.
State Governments Order District Collectors to Oversee Implementation of the Federal Guidelines
To make certain all schools, including private institutions, will comply with federal government’s new guidelines, state governments of India have tasked District Collectors to oversee implementation.
District Collectors have formed committees that will send out teams across their district to visit all schools during morning and afternoon sessions, and make observations when children enter and leave classrooms. In order to ensure that compliance takes place at the soonest time possible, state governments have set a deadline by which full implementation will be achieved.
According to school students studying at schools in which the federal guidelines have already been implemented, their teachers have already instructed them to bring just one thick notebook, one rough notebook and bring only subject books when deemed necessary.
As an aside, parents who intend to replace the large school bags may find it useful to know that there will an Amazon Great Indian Sale taking place at the Amazon online store from September 04 to 08, 2019.