Edu Dept sits on expert committee recommendations to reduce school bag weight

  • Carrying heavy bags lead to spinal damage, irreversible back problems in children: Survey
  • Experts recommend combined book system; Dir Edu says decision soon

One and a half months on, the State Government is sitting on expert committee recommendations on formulating a policy to reduce the weight of schoolbags of children.
The government in this August had constituted a four-member committee comprising of former Head of Department of Education, University of Kashmir, A G Madhosh, former principal of Government College for Women Nusrat Andrabi, ex-principal Abdul Jabbar, and Veena Pandita, in-charge chairperson, J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) to suggest ways to help reduce the weight of schoolbags.
The committee in its recommendations has suggested a combined book system for students of all primary classes.
The committee has asserted in its report that books of five subjects covering one semester should be kept in one book which will automatically reduce the weight of schools bags.
The report has also suggested that using of lightweight school bags, preferably waterproof; whose weight should not be more than 1.5 kg.
Meanwhile, for the students of Class III to V, the committee has recommended that the session be divided into four quarters and the syllabus be divided into semesters.
The report states that there should be selected chapters of every subject in one book for a particular semester while in the next semester same procedure should be followed.
The report has further recommended combined notebooks for class work on a term-basis along with term-wise textbooks.
The committee, in its report, has also said that the current trend of heavy schools bags among children has caused health problems in children.
The government had constituted the committee in August following High Court directions in a public interest litigation filed by Badrud Duja in 2016 seeking a comprehensive policy to reduce the burden of bags on students.
The government in October had informed the high court that the final draft of the suggestions made by the members shall be discussed and finalized in its next meeting and the final report and recommendations of the committee shall be submitted to the administrative department accordingly.
Pertinently in November, the report was filed by the committee and the government has since been silent on the issue.
Talking to Kashmir Post, petitioner Badrud Duja said that he has become very cynical about the functioning of the civil administration of the state as well as of the courts.
“My case is not being taken up for hearing, there is a nexus,” Duja alleged, adding that the media houses have been taking undue credit for his PIL.
A recent survey conducted by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) under its Healthcare Committee has found that 68 per cent of school children under the age of 13 years across India may suffer from mild back pain, which can develop into chronic pain and later into a hunchback.
The survey noted that over 88 per cent of children in the age group of 7-13 years carry more than 45 percent of their weight on their backs including art kit, skates, taekwondo equipment, a swim bag, cricket kit every alternate day leading to serious spinal damage and irreversible back problems.
A recent survey by Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar has revealed that children from schools across Kashmir were carrying school bags heavier than the recommended weight.
The survey by the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, GMC, had revealed that in schools in Kashmir, 83.7 per cent children carried bags heavier than 10 percent of their body weight.
Director School Education Kashmir, G N Itoo said that the issue is pending with the administrative department and a decision might be taken soon in this regard.