Mumbai: No homework and lighter bags for students of primary classes

Mumbai: To make students’ lives easier, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has released a circular issuing new directives. The most important directive is on reducing the weight of school bags and the other is its ‘no homework’ policy for students of Classes I and 2. Besides, no other subjects, except Language and Mathematics, should be prescribed for Classes 1 and 2; while for Classes 3 to 5, no other subjects other than Language, Mathematics and Environmental Studies should be prescribed.Both students and parents have welcomed the Centre’s move.

Though schools have welcomed the decision of lighter school bags, teachers have mixed feelings on the decision to not give homework to students.With a view to reduce the physical load of school bags, the Centre has said that students should not be asked to carry extra books and additional materials. In addition, the weight of school bag should not exceed 1.5 kilograms (kg) for students of Classes 1 and 2; 2-3kg for students of Classes 3, 4 and 5; and 4kg for Classes 6 and 7; 4.5kg for Classes 8 and 9; and 5kg for students of Class 10.

While happy about the reduced burden of school bags, teachers are not so upbeat about implementation of the ‘no homework’ policy. Teacher Shraddha Jagtap said, “We give homework to students so that they can go home and practise what they have learnt at school. Homework given to students of Classes 1 and 2  is a minimal and mostly based on creative art — drawing, colouring, writing numbers or alphabets — but now, the Centre wants us to stop this too.

At this tender age, students will forget what they have learnt in school if they do not practise it at home.” Currently, the policy followed by Maharashtra schools is: The weight of the school bag of a student in any class should not exceed 1/10th of the student’s weight. Teacher Rajesh Karve said, “This policy was not being implemented as the state education department had not conducted regular checks on weight of school bags at the ground-level. We are happy about the new directives, as these concern students of each and every class but they should be implemented too.” The Centre has directed all schools of all states and union territories to formulate guidelines as per this circular.

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