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Cutting kids’ bag flab: Education dept comes up with new school of thought

After failing to implement the recommendations of an expert committee on reducing weight of schoolbags, the department of school education and literacy has now decided to divide textbooks into two parts to lessen the burden on students’ backs.

A committee under academician Dr V P Niranjanaradhya submitted its report to the government in 2018-19.Based on its recommendations, a circular was issued stating that the weight of the schoolbag should not be more than 15% of the student’s body weight. But, this is not being followed.

As per an order issued by the Karnataka Textbooks Society, the books will be divided semester-wise – two textbooks per subject.

Following the decision taken at a recent review meeting of the department chaired by School Education & Literacy Minister Madhu Bangarappa, the Society issued an order about dividing the textbooks. The textbooks will be divided as SA-1 and SA-2.

Parents, schools fume

The plan has been met with opposition from parents and private school managements.

Parents argue that it would be expensive for them to buy the extra books.

D Shashi Kumar, general secretary of the Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said the bag weight currently was more or less standardised, appropriate to the age and body weight of the child.

Not the solution

“Dividing textbooks won’t solve any problem. Instead, the government must consider revising/rewriting class 1-4 textbooks,” said Kumar.

Divya Mohan, a parent, said dividing textbooks would force parents to buy two notebooks too even as their costs increase every year. This is going to be expensive even for the department as it will cost an additional Rs 10 crore for printing and supplying the books.

Wastage of books

The private school managements said this would result in wastage of textbooks from previous years.

“For the last two years, 10-15% of the textbooks are getting wasted because of revision. If the government decides to divide the textbooks into two parts, thosefrom previous years will go waste,” said a head teacher of a private aided school in Bengaluru South.

(Published 19 December 2023, 00:04 IST)

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