Introducing all-in-one textbooks combining different subjects could reduce the weight of students’ schoolbags by half from the coming academic year, states a recommendation of the expert committee formed by the Maharashtra government. The panel’s report was uploaded on the government’s website on Tuesday for experts’ feedback depending on which these solutions will be implemented in schools by June.
One of the major recommendations is to have combined textbooks, demarcated for two-three months, instead of one textbook per subject. This will reduce the number of textbooks in schoolbags, making it lighter.
Experts have also proposed publishing three textbooks for all subjects — one textbook for maths, geometry and science, another for the languages and a third for social studies and other subjects.
The experts also suggested asking Balbharti to publish content on lighter pages instead of the currently used paper weighing 70 grams per square metre (gsm).
“These solutions can reduce the weight of schoolbags by nearly 50% depending on their implementation,” said Vinod Tawde, education minister. “We will finalise the solutions with help of experts and implement them by June, before a new batch of textbooks is printed.”
The panel also recommended using slates in classrooms so that students don’t have to carry notebooks. “Slates can be provided to pre-primary and primary students,” said Ramesh Khanvilkar, a committee member.
But school principals said some suggestions were not practical. “Having combined textbooks and notebooks for different subjects will not be convenient for students,” said Anjana Prakash, principal, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.
The panel also recommended encouraging schools to use tablets, computers and e-books as teaching aids. But Carl Laurie, principal, Christ Church School, Byculla, said, “Everyone is not ready for e-learning.”