Two months ago, Maharashtra government implemented a policy that would ease little shoulders of school children. The state education department instructed all schools officials to cut down the weight of school bags and remarked that it should not exceed the 10% of child’s body weight.
This promulgation took place when the government set up a committee to survey the weight of school bags. It was found that 60 percent of the students below age 10 were suffering from orthopaedic and stress-induced ailments.
In October, the deputy director of education led up a survey in Pune schools where education officers spanned across 150 schools to check the weight of school bags. Of the checked school bags, it was found that more than 75% of the bags were overweight. Also these bags were carrying unnecessary things which were not in the timetable.
The committee had made suggestions to schools that one book per subject should be used for three months and the textbook weight can be reduced by using less weighing paper and keeping it without hard cover. The committee also recommended that use of e-classroom and audio-visual techniques would be useful.
“We had told the schools that we would be repeating the inspections. No school can complain that they do not know the norms as in the past three months, we have ensured they are made aware of the same. Now, if we find that despite our reminders, school are not capping weight of school bags, we will recommend suspension or appropriate disciplinary action against the principal and also ask the Charity Commissioner to take action against the trustee looking after the day to day affairs of the school,” a statement marked by an official.
But it seems that those were only the words because since then, no reports has come from ward level officers, informed BB Chavan, deputy director of education, Mumbai. There can also be a possibility that zonal inspectors have not submitted the reports yet. But the situation seems clearer when Chandrakanta Pathak, principal of HVB Global Academy, Marine Lines said, “We took several steps to reduce weight of the school bags after the government formulated the school bag policy, but no one from the department has come to check them yet.”
Considering these situations, a division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite Dhere said, “Formation of policy is a first step, we want to see whether all the schools implement it and if not then what is the action you (state) would be taking against the erring schools.” Bombay High Court has now asked the state government to file a status report on implementation of school bag policy by March 8.