Most city schools failed to meet the norms on the weight of bags despite several measures such as installing lockers, digital boards in classrooms and instructing parents to lighten children’s bags by the November 30.
Though the steps taken by the schools will bring down the weight of the bags to some extent, city schools said that they will not be able to meet the new weight limits — bags should be less than 10% of students’ body weight, unless parents are sensitised.
The government had given schools four weeks, starting November 5, to comply with the July 21 government resolution consisting of 44 recommendations made by the expert panel to reduce the weight of the bags. Schools such as Pawar Public School, Chandivli, have introduced special desks for students to store their arts and crafts material.
Students have been asked to stop carrying textbooks to school for social studies and science. Madhura Phadke, principal of the school, said, “Students will not have to carry art and craft material to school and teachers have also been told to use digital boards available in the class to teach and not insist on textbooks.”
“We have planned to implement state education minister Vinod Tawde’s suggestions to ask students to hand down textbooks to their juniors after being promoted to higher grade. But this year, the term had already started when the norms came into place so we will do it from the next academic year,” she said.
Similarly, South Indian Education Society (SIES) School, Matunga, is planning to introduce a file system for Classes 4 to 10 from the next academic year. “This way, children will not have to carry books to school,” said Kalyani Arumugam, principal of the school. “We have also designed our timetable in such a way that students do not have to carry too many books.”
Some schools have also started addressing their parents, through SMS and PTA meetings, but they said that it will take some time to spread awareness.
“We have taken initiatives such as extending the worksheet system to other subjects so that students don’t need to carry notebooks but the need of the hour is to sensitise parents,” said Chandrakanta Pathak, HVB Global Academy, Marine Lines.