There seems to be no respite for the school-going children in J&K from carrying a heavy burden on their tender shoulders despite the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education(MoE) GoI for reducing the burden of school bags.
The school children continue to carry a “heavy burden” on their tender shoulders as the government has failed to implement the guidelines to the schools for reducing weight in school bags.
Last time the directions for regulating the weight of school bags were issued by the J&K School Education Department (SED) was in April 2020 when all the educational institutions were closed in J&K due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
However, as the schools reopened for routine schooling from March this year, the school-going children were again forced to carry heavyweight of school bags on their shoulders deflating the government’s move of ensuring the weight of bags in schools, particularly in private schools.
This has raised a major concern among parents who demand strict implementation of the government guidelines for regulating the weight of school bags in schools.
“As the schools reopened for routine schooling, the practice of carrying heavy weight bags by small school children continues. It has exposed the government to get the guidelines implemented in schools,” said Nasir Ahmad, a parent from Hyderpora Srinagar.
Earlier, the Ministry of Education (MoE) issued repeated instructions to the School Education Department (SED) of all states and UTs including J&K to regulate the teaching of subjects and weight of school bags.
Also, the Children’s School Bag Act 2006 is already in place but the poor implementation of the Act has put the students in trouble.
As per the Act, a school bag should not weigh more than 10 percent of a child’s total body weight.
Also, the MoE guidelines state that the weight of a school bag should not exceed 1.5 kg up to 2nd primary, three kg for class III to V students, four kg in the case of students of VI and VII class. It has been also stated that the weight of a school bag should not exceed 4.5kg for class VIII and IX students and five kg for class 10th students.
Besides, the SED also made amendments in the School Education Act 2002 by adding Rule 8A to the Act and incorporating the guidelines for schools to ensure that the weight of school bags carried by school children is regulated.
However, the whole exercise remained confined to only papers while the school children continue to carry heavy bags to schools in violation of the set guidelines issued from time to time.
“The government (education department) has kept its role confined to only issuing orders but has failed to get the directions implemented on the ground,” said Muhammad Saquib, a parent from Sanatnagar here.
The parents have demanded strict implementation of government guidelines in schools for regulating the weight of school bags.
“My daughter is suffering from a back problem due to the heavy load of books in her school bag,” said Maqbool Ahmad, another parent.
Principal Secretary SED, Bishwajit Kumar Singh when contacted said the issue is already under consideration by the government.
“The matter will be looked into and we will ensure that guidelines are implemented on the ground,” he told.