School in Maharashtra will have to lighten bags of their students by November 30. The state school education department announced the deadline on Thursday for schools to comply with an expert panel’s recommendations on reducing the weight of school bags. In September, the Bombay high court had asked the state to issue directives to schools within four weeks.
According to the government resolution (GR) issued on Thursday, schools were given three months to make arrangements to reduce the weight of school bags.
“A circular issued on July 21 had given three months’ time to schools to make preparations for implementing the panel’s recommendations,” said the GR. “Hence, schools will have to comply with the recommendations from November 30.”
School directors and principals will be held responsible if students are found carrying heavy bags.
The panel has recommended a cap on weight of school bags, stating it should not exceed 10% of a student’s body weight.
City school principals, however, said schools do not have sufficient time to comply with the GR, as several schools are closed for Diwali vacations till November 24. “We will be able to implement the policy easily as we have lockers in the school,” said Chandrakanta Pathak, principal, HVB Global Academy, Marine Lines. “But there is not enough time for those schools that do not having these facilities.”
Other principals said schools would also have to sensitise parents. “Parents are partly responsible for burdening students, as they enroll them in several after-school activities,” said Father Jude Fernandes, principal, St Mary’s School (SSC) Mazgaon. “We need to hold meetings with them [parents] to brief them about the panel’s recommendations.”