The executive magistrates in their respective jurisdictions will enforce School Bag Policy-2020 to ensure that no student carries a heavy burden on their tender shoulders.
The move comes 10 days after the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) issued circular instructions to the schools putting a cap on the weight of school bags.
In this regard, an official communication has been issued to all the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) by DSEK with a “request” to direct the Executive Magistrates at different levels to enforce the guidelines issued regarding implementation of the School Bag Policy.
As per the official communication, the executive magistrates will monitor the implementation of the guidelines during their visit to the schools in their district “so as to ensure proper implementation of guidelines.”
As already reported by this newspaper, four years ago the Ministry of Education (MoE) Government of India issued strict directions to all the States and UTs to regulate the time table in educational schools along with the weight of school bags.
Following this, the J&K School Education Department (SED) in 2020 made certain amendments in the J&K school education Act 2002 in order to ease the burden of heavy bags carried by school going children in the union territory.
The department added Rule 8A in the school education Act under which the heads of the schools were entrusted to ensure that no homework is assigned to students up to class 2nd primary in all government as well as private schools affiliated with JK Board of School Education (BOSE).
However, the directions witnessed a poor implementation on ground owing to the prolonged closure of the educational institutions due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
Recently, the DSEK in a circular sought strict adherence to the School Bag Policy 2020 noting that heavy school bags were a serious threat to the health and well-being of students.
Referring to the revised school bag policy of NCERT, the DSEK said that there should be no school bags for kindergarten students while the weight of the school bags for class 1st and 2nd primary should be 1.6 to 2.2 kg while 1.7 to 2.5 kgs for Classes 3rd to 5th primary.
As per the revised guidelines, the weight of a school bag for class 6th and 7th students should be 2 to 3 kg and 2.5 to 4kg for Class 8th students.
“The weight of the school bag for class 9th and 10th should be 2.5 kgs to 4.5 kgs and for class 11th and 12th it should be 3.5 kgs to 5 kgs,” the circular reads.
The teachers have been put on instructions to take the responsibility of checking the weight of school bags of the students.
Notably, the issue of heavy weight of school bags has been a persistent problem with students carrying this weight. Over the years, the department failed to resolve the issue despite having Children’s School Bag Act 2006 in place. As per the Act, a school bag should not weigh more than 10 percent of a child’s total bodyweight.