City schools are struggling to meet the government deadline of November 30 to lighten school bags to 10% of the students’ body weight. Schools have asked for more time to comply with the order as many have reopened just this week after the three-week Diwali break.
Education officials said that schools caught violating the rules, during random checks after deadline, will be given time to meet the norms.
The state school education department had issued a government resolution (GR) on November 5 stating that school directors and principals will be held responsible if students are found carrying heavy school bags.
Education officials are also planning to conduct random checks in schools after the deadline.
But city schools, who have just returned from Diwali vacation, said that they need more time especially to sensitise parents on reducing the weight of bags carried by their children.
Some school managements have organised a meeting on Sunday to discuss the various measures that schools can take to reduce the weight of the bags.
“Parents are the main culprits, they send extra books, heavy tiffin boxes, bottles with students adding to the weight of the bags,” said Geetha Unnikrishnan, principal, JD Bharda School, CST. “So we are planning to talk to the parents but we have just reopened on Thursday and need some time to chalk out a strategy,” she added.
Unnikrishnan said that at the school level, they have already introduced term-wise, common notebooks for all subjects and double periods in the timetable, but even that has not helped in bringing down the weight of the bags.
“Despite taking these steps, we often find students carrying extra books, sometimes they even carry their sibling’s books,” said Unnikrishnan.
Similarly, Purshottam High School, Bandra, has planned to discuss the new rules with the parents during the open house meetings to be held in the coming weeks. “We will also send SMSes to parents asking them to ensure that children carry only the required books to school,” said Prema Kotian, principal.
Deepshikha Srivastava, principal, Rajhans Vidyalaya, Andheri said that along with the school bag policy for schools, the government needs to come out with instructions for parents as well. “Parents need to be told not to buy heavy trolley bags or metallic bottles for their children,” said Srivastava.
Sympathetic to the schools’ plight, deputy directorate of education, Mumbai region, BB Chavan said, “We will begin inspections after Monday, but we will give them time to reduce the school bag weight if it is found to be heavy.”
Chavan added that they too are planning to hold programmes to sensitise parents-teachers associations (PTAs) on supervising their children when they pack their bags.