School bid to cut bag load

La Martiniere girls will have lighter bags to carry from the next session if an experiment of giving out lesson handouts in class succeeds.

By Jhinuk Mazumdar in Calcutta
  • Published 14.12.17
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Students of La Martiniere for Girls will soon say goodbye to heavy schoolbags

Calcutta: La Martiniere girls will have lighter bags to carry from the next session if an experiment of giving out lesson handouts in class succeeds.

The school plans to distribute among students handouts with a synopsis of the topic taught in class and the important points they can refer to while the teacher is teaching. The students can refer to the textbook at home and revise what has been taught in class.

The school has been receiving several complaints from parents about their children having to carry heavy bags. Parents have also expressed their grievances on social media platforms, demanding the school's attention.

Some students have learnt to carry the heavy bags; some wheel in trolley bags and for some there are help waiting outside the gate to carry the load.

But parents complain that students have to climb up stairs with heavy bags on their shoulders and the younger ones often slouch under the weight of their bags.

"This is a burning issue and as a school either we look into it or ignore it," said principal Rupkatha Sarkar.

Paediatrician Apurba Ghosh said carrying heavy weight is harmful for a soft spine. "Children aged 8 to 15 should not carry more than 3kg weight. We have children of that age group coming to us with complaints of pain in the shoulders," said Ghosh, the director of the Institute of Child Health. He said vitamin D deficiency and heavy schoolbags were "equally responsible" for pain in the neck region."

The La Martiniere model would be for students of classes I to VIII and would be applicable to all subjects except mathematics and maybe a second language.

"The students might have to carry one English textbook, else they will refer to the hand outs in all other subjects," said Sarkar.

Students of Class IX and above have lockers in school where they can keep the heavier textbooks.

The school feels this would make the teachers' work systematic as well.

"Why should a teacher open a textbook to teach? If I know my subject well I should be using teaching aids, charts and handouts. I will write out the important terms and definitions on the board and tell the students to go back and revise," Sarkar explained.

But teachers should also be on the lookout for students carrying photocopies of a particular topic in class for ready reference.

"If a child is bringing a photocopy to class, it cannot be hidden from the teacher. Parents should also see that such a practice is not encouraged," a school official said.