The Delhi government has directed schools to strictly implement the guidelines on lessening the weight of school bags. Schools have been under pressure due to their insistence to make school children, carry all their books to school – the heavy load on their backs.
Last year on the suggestion of Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD), the Delhi government has put a limit on the weight of bags school children should carry. In 2016, the Union HRD Ministry formulated some guidelines to ensure that students are not forced to carry heavy bags as schools insist on making the students bring all their textbooks, guides, homework and class work notebooks to school.
In October 2018, the HRD ministry directed all states and Union Territories to “formulate guidelines to regulate the teaching of subjects and weight of school bags in accordance with the Government of India instructions”.
According to the central government’s advice, weights of school bags in Classes 1-2, 3-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10 should not be more than 1.5 kg, 2-3 kg, 4 kg, 4.5 kg, and 5 kg respectively. Following the Centre’s directive, several state governments issued directions to schools to comply with the order.
The Karnataka government, in a recent order had ordered all schools in the state to ensure that the weight of a child’s school bag should not exceed 10 per cent of the weight of the child. As per the order school bags of children in Classes 1-2 shouldn’t weigh more than 2 kg, bags of children in Classes 3-5 should not weigh more than 2-3 kg, and so on.
The Ministry also said that students should not be forced to carry study materials other than the prescribed textbooks to school, as per the day’s timetable. In spite of all the measures and directives, of the government as well as courts to reduce the weight of school bags, there has been no respite, from the burden on the shoulder, for school children.