Schoolchildren in Telangana will no longer have to carry loads of textbooks and notebooks following a government order on Tuesday capping the weight of school bags for students from primary school to Class X.
The order, which came into effect from Wednesday, made it mandatory for all the school managements to ensure that the students do not carry more than the prescribed weight of school bags.
According to the order, the maximum weight of a school bag with textbooks and notebooks should not exceed 1.5 kg for Class 1 and II; 2-3 kg for Classes III to V; 4 kg for Classes VI and VII; 4.50 kg for Classes VIII and IX and 5 kg for Class X students.
Until now, school children were carrying bags weighing from 6 kg to 12 kg at primary level and up to 17 kg at high school level, the government noted.
“This has a severe, adverse physical effect on the growing children which can cause damage to their vertebral column, knees and can also causes anxiety disorders in students,” the order said.
The order said the heavy load was caused by the fact that the children bring textbooks, guides, homework notebooks, rough work notebooks etc., to the classroom every day. Therefore, clear guidelines of what to bring to the schools is required, it said.
The school managements should inform students well in advance about the textbooks and notebooks to be brought to the school on a particular day. The department asked the schools to sensitise parents and students about appropriate kind of school bags to be used.
The order also said that there should be no homework for primary school students and all work pertaining to exercises given at the end of each unit or lesson in textbooks should be done during school hours under supervision of teachers. “The school should plan for homework to classes VI to X by allocating particular days for homework for specific subjects,” the order said.
The order also asks schools to provide safe drinking water so as to avoid children getting water bottles from home, which add to their load.
The Andhra Pradesh Child Rights Association has welcomed the move and said the government should ensure strict implementation of the order.
“The officials should take action against the school managements which insist on workbooks and other material, thereby overloading the students,” association president P Achyuta Rao said.