Centre proposes guidelines to make school bags lighter

New Delhi: To make the school bags of students lighter, a set of guidelines has been proposed by the Centre suggesting steps such as well-designed timetables and use of child-friendly rucksacks.

Other measures proposed include discouraging reference books and children up to class II leaving behind their bags in school.

The guidelines, which would be placed before the Central Advisory Board on Education on August 19 for consideration, also calls for supporting the concept of “class libraries” to promote reading habit among students and supplement those who do not bring textbooks on a particular day.

The guidelines come as there has been a growing concern about the weight of the school bags and its effects on children’s health.

Emphasis has been laid on school principals and teachers to frame a well-designed timetable for each section of the class so that children do not have to carry too many books or notebooks to the school each day.

“It would also help in ensuring that co-curricular activity periods are held along with the other periods on daily basis, thereby having an equitable distribution of weight of school bags,” an agenda note prepared for August 19 meeting said.

Parents should also be requested to buy child-friendly bags which are comfortable to use and light in weight.

“Students should be discouraged from bringing reference books and other books to school, especially in senior classes,” the note said.

Some of the guidelines are basically a reaffirmation of policies evaluated by education boards from time to time but not being strictly followed, an HRD Ministry official said.

CBSE has already advised schools to maintain and keep school bags up to class II.

The Directorate of Education under the Delhi government had also come out with a set of guidelines after a case was filed in Delhi High Court in 2012 on the issue of heavy school bags.