The state education department will issue show-cause notices to schools that have failed to lighten bags of students, after the deadline for implementing the norms ended on Monday. According to the school bags policy, schools have to restrict the weight of bags to 10% of the students’ body weight.
Education department officials will conduct random checks at schools from this week to ensure that schools follow norms. If students’ bags are found to be heavier than the prescribed limit, action will be initiated against the school director or principal.
“We cannot extend the deadline. Our teams will visit schools in three-four days to weigh students’ school bags,” said Mahavir Mane, primary education director. “If students are found to be carrying heavy school bags, we will give them some time and if they still don’t comply with it, we will issue show-cause notices to the heads of the schools.”
The state government had given schools the deadline after being pulled up by the Bombay high court. Schools have been asked to follow the July 21 government resolution (GR), which consists of 44 recommendations made by an expert panel.
Some of the suggestions by the panel include ban on carrying heavy water bottles, bags, extra-books, having fewer subjects during a day and term-wise textbooks, among others.
The department will also reward those schools that have taken innovative steps to bring down the weight of bags. “Education inspectors will send commendation letters to encourage schools that have successfully implemented the recommendations,” said Mane.
Several city schools have already started taking steps to bring down weight of bags. “We have started installing white [smart] boards in the classrooms and teachers have been instructed to come up with creative ideas,” said Father Jude Fernandes, principal, St Mary’s (SSC) School, Mazgaon.
Some other schools, however, have demanded more time, to sensitise parents. “Parents are to be blamed for packing heavy bags for students,” said Prema Kotian, principal, Purshottam High School, Bandra. “We need more time to sensitise them. We are planning to discuss it with them during our open house.”