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HC seeks info on action against school heads

The Bombay High Court sought to know from Maharashtra Government what action it proposes to take against principals or trustees of schools across the state for not implementing recommendations of an expert committee on reducing weight of school bags and other issues concerning students.

A bench headed by justices V M Kanade and Reveti Mohite-Dere asked the State to file an affidavit by December 17 on the action proposed to be taken against school heads.

The Government had informed last week that it had issued a circular in schools across the State, fixing responsibility on trustees and principals for implementing recommendations of the expert committee on weight reduction of school bags.

The circular, issued on November 5, also mentions that the recommendations must be implemented by the schools by November end, according to Government pleader Anjali Helekar.

The judges were hearing a PIL filed by social activist Swati Patil on rising weight of school bags and its adverse impact on the health of children.

The petitioner sought to know whether the State had planned any action against the heads of schools who do not implement the GR on weight of school bags.

Thereupon, the HC asked the State to state its stand on the issue within three weeks (by December 17).

Soon after the petition was filed, Government had appointed a committee which submitted several recommendations.

As per the panel’s report, students are lugging school bags 20-30 per cent heavier than what children of their age should carry. Because of this, around 60 per cent students below the age of 10 suffer from orthopaedic as well as stress- induced ailments.

The committee recommended that one book should be used for three months for each subject and the textbook weight can be reduced by using less weight paper and no hardcover.

Further, it suggested use of e-classroom, audio-visual technology and other modern means for teaching.

The Government had earlier issued a circular on July 21 on implementation of recommendations made by the committee.

However, it was silent on who would be responsible for implementation of the suggestions given by the panel.

The High Court then asked the State Government to fix responsibility on some officer or person for implementing the suggested measures.

The State had last week informed that the school principals and trustees of the schools had been made responsible for implementation of the recommendations.

According to the Government, there are about 1.06 lakh schools in Maharashtra.

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