Around 80 per cent of schools affiliated to the State Education Board have brought down within prescribed limits the weight of school bags that children have to carry to schools, Education Minister Vinod Tawde told the Legislative Council.
The issue was raised by Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt, through a point of propriety, who questioned the government on its resolve to reduce the weight of school bags.
“80 per cent of the issue regarding the weight of school bags has been solved in the State Board schools. However, it’s difficult to implement it in CBSE, ICSE, IGSE & IB Board schools as their Boards, work-books, extra-curricular activities are different. We are in touch with them and trying to sort the matter out,” the minister said.
Tawde conceded that implementation of a government resolution (GR) on directions to be followed by schools in reduction of weight of school bags was not up to the mark in CBSE, ICSE, IGSE & IB Board schools.
“The government is trying to put-in place an effective implementation authority. Our initial approach was to lay stress on counselling and assisting the educational institutions to resolve this issue,” he said.
Dutt demanded that the state government set a timeframe to ensure effective implementation of the GR, to which Tawde replied, “We will implement it at the earliest.”
The government had set up a committee on the reduction of weight of school bags for students soon after a petition was filed in the Bombay High Court.
As per the report submitted by the panel, 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 10 years suffer from orthopaedic as well as stress-induced ailments,” the report said.
The committee had recommended that one book should be used for three months for each subject and the textbook weight can be reduced by discouraging use of hardcover and using lightweight paper instead.
It had also suggested use of e-classroom, audio-visual technology and other modern means for teaching.