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November 28, 2018

Capping weight: Schools say curriculum and bags need redesign

Agencies

Bengaluru, Nov 28: Schools in Bengaluru are not happy with the HRD ministry’s circular on capping the weight of bags carried by class 1-10 students. They are, in fact, demanding a comprehensive study and reworking of the curriculum and also want the Centre to frame guidelines to redesign school bags.

According to the institutions, the fancy school bags themselves are as much a burden on the students as books. “Parents are fascinated by fancy school bags and empty school trolleys weigh about 1.5kg to 2 kg,” they pointed out, adding that bags shouldn’t weigh over 700g when empty.

J Bhuvaneshvari, principal, Presidency School, south Bengaluru, told TOI: “We have already provided cubby facility for students up to class 10, but what we actually need to ask now is how will the government manage the weight of fancy school bags available in the market. The MHRD should also look into this aspect, instead of only focusing on reducing the load by decreasing books and homework.”

Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Karnataka Associated Management of English Medium Schools (KAMS), said, “At an age when a student’s mind must be used for better learning, the government is blocking the child’s way of learning. The department of state educational research and training (DSERT) must rework the curriculum and school bags available in the market should be redesigned.”

According to the circular, schools should not prescribe any other subject except language and mathematics for class 1 and 2, and language, environmental sciences and mathematics for classes 3 to 5 as mandated by NCERT. The weight of school bags for students of class 1 and 2 should be up to 1.5 kg, while that of classes 3 to 5 should be between 2kg to 3kg. Bags of class 6 and 7 students shouldn’t be more than 4kg, while that of their seniors — class 8 and 9 — should not be above 4.5kg. A class 10 student’s bag shouldn’t weigh above 5kg.

Terming it a baseless circular issued without any basic survey, M Srinivasan, founder, GEAR Innovative International School, said, “How can one expect a student to learn just language and mathematics at a young age? The ‘no homework’ policy is totally confusing and will not help in their development. Managements of several schools are mulling holding a meeting to discuss this and put forward what they think could be the consequences of this circular, along with their suggestions,” said Srinisvasan, who is also the president of Karnataka CBSE Schools Association.

Asked about plans to redesign the curriculum to reduce the load, Shalini Rajneesh, principal secretary, primary and secondary education, said, “We are working on redesigning the curriculum.”

Capping weight: Schools say curriculum and bags need redesign

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