Ahead of the education department’s checks this week, schools have started conducting their own surprise inspections to ensure that students’ bags do not cross the permissible weight limit of more than 10% of their body weight.
They found that students were carrying more books than needed and were not sticking to the timetable. Heavy metallic tiffin boxes added to the weight.
The state government had given schools time till November to reduce the weight of school bags by implementing the recommendations of the expert panel included in the July 21 government resolution (GR).
Schools have started maintaining a record of school bags’ weight. This is following the November 5 GR which stated that school directors and principals will be held responsible if students are found to be carrying heavy bags.
Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu, conducted a surprise check on Tuesday and found students carrying bags within the permissible limit. “We have started weighing students’ bags at random and keeping a record so that if the education department comes to check, they can see the record,” said Zeenat Bhujabhoy, principal of the school. “Even our security guards have been instructed to check students’ bags randomly at the gate.”
The school has introduced measures to reduce the weight of bags. “Students only have to carry textbooks for language periods. We have changed the timetable so that there is only one such period in a day,” said Bhujabhoy.
St Mary’s School ICSE conducted seven surprise checks before it closed for Diwali. Similarly, EuroSchool Thane has been weighing school bags for the last one month. “We have been recording the weight of bags daily and maintaining data on the heaviest and lightest bags,” said Rajani Pattabhiraman, principal, EuroSchool Thane.
Although the ideal weight of bags should be around 3kgs, the school found a Class 7 student carrying an 8-kg bag. “We have introduced a system where children only have to carry paper sheets to school,” said Pattabhiraman. “But, we found some students carrying all workbooks to school.”
Schools blamed parents for this. “We found students carrying books which were not required. Parents need to supervise students when they are packing bags,” said Kalyani Patnaik, principal, Hiranandani Foundation School, Powai.