India Bans Homework, Heavy School Bags

The government of India had denounced schools for making students carry heavy school bags and giving young children homework in order to curb the upcoming generation of children from having hunched backs and spine problems.

Weight guidelines has been issued for students’ bags depending on their age, citing studies that show how the load can affect soft, developing spines.

According to a survey done by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, it was found that 68 percent of pre-teen children might suffer from mild back pain, which can develop into chronic back pain, and later into a hunchback.

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The study, which covered more than 2,500 children and 1,000 parents in major cities, found that more than 88 percent of children from seven to 13 carry more than 45 percent of their body weight on their backs.

In support of the government plan, Rashmi Tapke, a mother of two, said heavy school bags reflect poor time-table planning.

Rashmi said: “If they (schools) plan, they can repeat the subjects taught and thus reduce the load. My kids find it difficult to carry so many books.”

The state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, mandates that the weight on the bag should not exceed 10 percent of the child’s body weight. Many schools there have started using white boards and projectors to ensure text books are not required to be carried to school.

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But in large parts of rural India, children have to walk great distances, weighed down by school bags. Children have been known to ford rivers, some with books on their heads, to get to school.

A driver, Rajinda Shukla whose child attends school in most populous Uttar Pradesh states: “My frail daughter has to haul about 4-5 kgs of books in her school bag and also carry her lunch box and water bottle in a separate bag.”

The federal circular also suggests that no home work be assigned to kids in grades 1 and 2 that they carry no books home.

 

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