Even after 12 years of the Central Board of Education (CBSE) prescribing a number of books to be carried by a student, it has been observed that te board has failed to get kids rid of bulky bags.
The question here arises as who is to be blamed? Is it the parents who do not keep a check on whether their child is carrying books as per timetable or school authorities who fix surplus books for students.
The CBSE had first issued a circular in 2006 pertaining to reducing the bag load of students and restricted the number of textbooks, especially at the primary level. The same guidelines reiterated in 2007 and 2008 by the board.
According to the rules, only Hindi, English and maths were prescribed by the board for Classes up to II. Nevertheless, many schools in the city have prescribed surplus books in primary classes itself. The CBSE had also advised schools to keep the bags of students up to Class II in the school itself.
A booklist (a copy of which is with The Tribune) of the Shastri Nagar-based school has 28 items for Class III as against four books (Rimjhim Bhag – Hindi, Marigold Book – English, Math Magic Book and Looking Around Book- EVS) prescribed by the board as per the NCERT syllabus.
Sumit, whose daughter is in Class IV said, “My daughter has to carry 12 books daily. She tells me that all books are important and none can be missed. The weight of the bag is more than her weight.”
Keeping in view the adverse health effects, the CBSE stated that prolonged use of heavy school bags can have an irreversible effect on a child. “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”, said the CBSE in 2016 circular.
Meanwhile, school heads claim that they abide by the CBSE guidelines but it is the parents who have to ensure proper bag weight. “We are very particular about it and in fact, we have banned heavy binding books, heavy water bottles and vertical bags in school. We have designed a timetable in accordance with the CBSE guidelines only. However, we have not been able to achieve 100 per cent results, as parents do not keep a check on the number of books the child is carrying,” said Navita Puri, Principal,