It has been proven beyond doubt that carrying heavy bags can cause irreparable damage to the knees and vertebral column. A weight limit has been prescribed for school bags of the primary children by the government to safeguard their physical development and health. Children who are in their growing stages should avoid carrying heavy bags on their shoulders. As per the announcement of the HRD Ministry, the permissible weight for children to carry is 1.5 kg for classes I and II and 2 to 3 kg for children of classes III to V.
Why It Became Necessary to Limit School Bag Weight?
The well- being and health of students can undergo a serious threat if they carry heavy bags regularly to school. As per the initiative of MHRD, they have instructed all states and UTs for immediate compliance with reducing schoolbag weight and teaching calendars to be rationalized to enable schools to provide more time for sports activities and honing their non – academic skills. The states have also been given directions not to ask students to bring extra materials or additional books to school.
Short and Long Term Effects of Heavy School Bag Weight on Child’s Health
School bag weight problem has existed for a long time and it is a much needed welcome step introduced by the government. If the children lift heavy bags, the adverse effects will not be instantly evident, but in due course of time, their nervous system can show symptoms of being affected by it. It is an undue physical burden on the kids and the skeletal frame of the children are sometimes not fully formed. The ligaments and muscles get damaged due to the stress of the excess weight. The vertebral column and knees can also be affected. Children sometimes develop a forward head posture as they try to balance and compensate for the heavy weight of the bag by swinging their body forward. The whole thing in all can create a kind of imbalance or deformity in the body structure.
Guidelines Set by Government of India’s HRD Ministry Regarding School Bag’s Weight
Every school looks forward to the holistic development of the child. It can be possible if participation in games, sports, art and reading library books is encouraged. Students should avoid slinging the bag over one shoulder and instead use both the straps for carrying the bag. No homework is to be assigned to the students of classes I and II. The guideline formulated by the Government is as given below:
- The MHRD has circulated the instruction that no homework is to be assigned to the students of classes I and II.
- Schools are instructed not to prescribe any other subject apart from Mathematics and Language for classes I and II.
- Only Language, Mathematics and EVS will be taught to students of III to V.
- The minimum weight of the bags is 1.5 kg for classes I and II and 2 to 3 kg for classes III to V.
- Besides the prescribed textbooks, students should not be asked to carry any extra books or study material which can add an extra burden for the child.
- NCERT recommends just two books for classes I and II and three books for classes III to V. Their textbooks are freely accessible on mobile and web devices.
- The circular also instructs the schools to inform in advance about the books and notebooks that the students need to bring the following day.
The statutory bodies have also suggested how to reduce school bag weight by implementing a well – designed time table so that children do not have to carry too many books when they come to school. This order, if followed strictly, will have a huge impact on the school bag weight limit in India. The school bag weight recommendation became mandatory, seeing the heavy bags being carried by young children.
The decision of the Delhi Directorate of education to cap the weight of school bags will provide extensive relief to junior students. The teaching of subjects hence has been regulated in accordance with the Government of India instructions. Students should be made to understand the concepts. Children should feel encouraged to read, comprehend and express their opinions. Instead of engaging children in coaching classes, they should be motivated to play games and sports. It is the right of every child to have spare time for physical activity and recreation. It should be the duty of the heads of schools to counsel the parents about the adverse effects of carrying heavy bags. The school authorities should frequently check the bags of the students to ensure that they are not carrying any unnecessary material.