A growing number of children are developing irreversible back deformities because of the weight of the bags they carry to school. Half of all children suffer back pain by the age of 14 and doctors are reporting a rise in cases of spinal abnormalities in pupils, including disfiguring curvatures known as scoliosis. Overloaded school bags that are up to double the size of those carried ten years ago are contributing to the surge, it is feared. Pupils routinely carry bags filled with heavy books, laptops, sports kit and packed lunches, which may weigh as much as 20 kilograms. Despite the Children’s Schoolbag Act enacted in 2006 which states that the school bag should not weigh more 10 per cent of the body weight of the student, many students regularly attend school with heavy bags.
The heavy school bag which school children carry daily on their delicate shoulders puts extreme pressure on their spines and causes them severe backache and posture problems at a very young age. Children gradually lose interest in going to school due to the stress of carrying a heavy bag and their attention span also reduces. The state government had set up a committee which made 44 recommendations on how to reduce the weight of school bags and on the maximum weight limit. These were put up on the state department’s website for suggestions from the public. As textbooks constitutes a major proportion of the weight of the bag and the teacher teaches only a part of the text book (few pages) in a month, the publishers could separate the big textbook into different thin booklets, which will make the load of children carrying these books lighter. Schools could also provide lockers where the students could keep their books and thus need not carry a heavy load daily.
Students could also organize their bags daily and carry only books which are needed for the day. Let us hope the new education policy makes the school bags of children lighter. Education today is a prerequisite to the success, development and bright future of an individual and for the progress of a nation. Education means knowledge and knowledge is power. Education has transformed human lives beyond imagination and has opened the doors to career opportunities across the world. It is therefore the key to stability, prosperity, for having productive life-style and is the gateway to success.