New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Monday asked all its affiliated schools not to assign any homework to students of class I and II and they need not bring school bags to schools. In a circular the CBSE has asked all its affiliated schools to take a series of measures for schools, teachers and parents to reduce the weight of school bags, which have ‘adverse’ and ‘irreversible’ effect on health of children.
“Young children whose spine is at a crucial stage of growth are the most susceptible ones to hazards such as back pain, muscle pain, shoulder pain, fatigue and in extreme cases the distortion of spinal cord or shoulders that may most plausibly be attributed to heavy school bags,” the circular said.
The board has suggested that textbooks for classes I to VIII should be light weighted. Schools should not prescribe too many additional and supplementary textbooks which are at times voluminous, costly and designed in a pedagogically unsound manner. Textbooks and workbooks may not be hard bound, it maintained.
Schools may check school bags randomly to ensure the proper weight of school bags. Students should be encouraged to repack their bags on daily basis and to avoid carrying unnecessary articles, textbooks, workbooks that are not needed. All the tasks related to projects and activities can be done as group activities during the school hours and should not be prescribed as home work as it adds to the weight of the school bag, it added.
Principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya-1, A T Mishra said, “In many schools it is already in practice that younger children keep their books in schools and need not carry back home every day. But it is also the duty of parents to repack schoolbags of their wards every day and take out unnecessary items.”
It has suggested teachers to use alternative methods of teaching like based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to alleviate the dependence on textbooks and must not penalise students for not bringing books. They may use loose sheets for the workbooks as it reduces the weight of school bag. Schools have also been asked to provide potable drinking water so that children need not carry water bottles as well.
Doctors said a large number of children these days are complaining of back and shoulder pain and postural defects. “Children generally come with neck and shoulder pains complaints after reopening of schools after vacation. They should not be taken lightly and immediately consult physician as it may lead to serious problem like kyphosis or lumbago or slipped disc,” said paediatrician Dr S S Mohapatra.
Several states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Delhi issued specific guidelines to use lighter school bags and revised textbooks to make them slimmer. Many private schools have also switched to smart-classes and educational tablets to replace text books for higher classes.
TNN Minati Singha