In a major relief to students, the Meghalaya government has put a cap on the weight of schoolbags for all classes and set restrictions on homework for classes 1 and 2.
According to the state education department, the official order issued to the school authorities is in tune with the directives of the Union Human Resources Development Ministry.
“We have issued instructions via a notification, setting limits on the weight of school bags. This is in line with the guidelines of the Union Human Resources Development Ministry, keeping in mind that the weights the children carry affect their health,” Education Principal Secretary DP Wahlang told agencies.
The department has also asked the heads of institutions to ensure that timetables are designed in a way that students do not have to carry too many books or notebooks to school.
“The weight of school bags for classes 1 and 2 has been capped at 1.5 kg, while bags for those studying in classes 3 to 5 should not exceed 3 kg,” the notification said.
For students of classes 6 to 7, the maximum weight should be 4 kg, it said.
Similarly, the weight of school bags for classes 8 and 9 has been capped at 4.5 kg and the maximum weight of bags for class X students has been limited to 5 kg.
“Schools should make sure that the students are asked to carry only those textbooks that have been mentioned in their time table,” the order said.
The education department has also barred schools from assigning homework to students of classes I and II, except in subjects recommended by CBSE, ICSE or MBOSE (Meghalaya Board of School Education).
“Students should not be forced to bring additional books and materials,” it said, adding that children should be encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities for their holistic development.