Going a step ahead to reduce the weight of students’ bags, St Mary’s School ICSE at Mazagaon has imposed a ban on carrying textbooks for four subjects, metallic stationery boxes and water bottles to its secondary section, when the school reopens for its second term on August 31.
In cases where referring to textbooks is necessary, the teachers for the four subjects -- mathematics, science, history and geography – can display the pages digitally using a projector or get photocopies of the relevant portions. The students will, however, have to carry textbooks for languages to class once a week, which, too, will be stopped eventually.
“The four subjects can be easily taught without textbooks. We plan to introduce devices such as document readers, which will allow teachers to project any document on the spot, or make smart boards available in class. The move will reduce the weight of their bags by half,” said Father Francis Swamy, manager of the school and joint-secretary of the Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE) that manages more than 100 schools in the city.
The teachers were informed about the ban at a staff meeting on Monday. “Teachers will have to check if the students are carrying heavy water bottles or pencil boxes. Students’ notebooks should not have more than 100 pages. Parents, too, have been asked to ensure students don't carry tuition books to class,” said Swamy.
The idea was put forth by a group of parents and was later approved by the parents-teachers association (PTA). “We proposed various solutions to the school. The school is also in talks with private publishers to come up with term-wise textbooks,” said Sharookh Contractor, a parent and vice-president of the PTA.
Parents seem to be happy with the move. “There have been occasions where my son’s bag weighed 15kg. The rule will definitely help,” said Almas Hirani, parent of a 13-year-old student of the school.