By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
We have been constantly reminding schools about the weight the children have to carry. The heavy load of books carried by children is painstaking, especially when they have to travel in crowded buses. It is sad to see the children bending forward with heavy loads on their backs and struggling to get into the buses and vans It is imperative to lighten the school bags. Instead of splitting the books for terms, it is better to reduce the volume of books for each year and to optimise the subjects taught in a day. Of the seven periods in a day, a maximum of four subjects should be taught so that the students need carry only these books. Teachers should be capable of teaching lessons without textbooks, especially subjects such as sciences. However, for language learning, textbooks are essential and not always avoidable. The key to the problem is to reduce the number of subjects requiring textbooks, on a daily basis, to the bare minimum than to split up the books, term-wise.
Likewise, the notes can be written in a rough book and the same can be copied into the fair book at home. This system will help in better learning and reduce the burden of school bags. It is difficult for the schoolchildren to carry heavy bags as they lean forward while walking because of the weight. The parents and students were finding things tough with the increasing weight of school bags. For, it causes both physical and mental strain to students. A term-one textbook scheme for the primary classes and single textbook, including all the subjects for a term for higher classes, will relieve the students of the burden of carrying heavy bags. The baggage disproportionate to the body weight of the students poses grave health problems to them. It is cruel to make students carry such unbearable weight.
Even some teachers fail to understand why parents carry the bag of the children all the way to school. Since each child has around six subjects to study, it will be helpful if just three subjects are taught on a particular day alternatively to break the monotony. The next day the remaining three subjects can be taken up.
The following suggestions may be considered in schools: reduction in the size and number of textbooks, keeping one set of textbooks at school and one set at home, arranging drinking water facility in each class room, bringing all students under the noon meal programme, arranging transport facility, reduction in the number of periods, compelling students to depend on notes given by teachers to avoid use of guide books, reduction in the syllabus, encouraging effective instructions at school and discouraging tuition system.
We are too late to make a move to lessen the daily burden of our children. It would be better if study tools were kept at school. All activities of learning must be completed at school. At home, the children should get complete relaxation. Now our children have no time to relax. After and before school time, they are rushing to the tuition centre. This busy, stressful childhood affects their behaviour and personality.
The number of subjects for each day should be limited. Filing system that allows the students to write on foolscap paper should be adopted instead of notebooks. This will reduce the weight of the bags.
Homework cannot be done away with and it is not practical to maintain two sets of textbooks. A major portion of the study is done at home. This is the age of electronic application and IT revolution. CDs can be used to aid teaching. As far as primary classes are concerned, textbooks may be duplicated and a common workbook system introduced. This can be implemented from the upper primary level. Politicians and bureaucrats should do something more than the usual lip service.
Students may write their notes on the paper and file them in folders at home. Similarly, they may write down their homework on sheets of paper and bring them to class. They can show these folders to their teachers periodically and get them signed too. The proposal to divide each textbook into three volumes is a welcome idea.
Parental pressure, criticism and stiff competition are making life difficult for children. School authorities should provide pure drinking water. The timetable should be reorganised to reduce the number of subjects taught a day. It would be helpful if the number of papers were reduced from the present 13 to seven. Unbreakable slates should be introduced in nursery and primary classes. For higher classes, students should maintain separate folders for each subject instead of notebooks. They need to bring only loose sheets to the class to take down notes, which can be filed in the respective folders.
How we can lighten the burden of School bags ?
By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit