Easing The Burden: Will Mumbai Follow Telangana's Attempt To Lighten School Bags?

Easing The Burden: Will Mumbai Follow Telangana's Attempt To Lighten School Bags?

The city’s parents and teachers welcome the move by the neighbouring state and also provide alternative solutions to lighten the burden on students.

Simple VishwakarmaUpdated: Wednesday, January 10, 2024, 04:54 PM IST
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In a groundbreaking move, the Telangana School Education Department is set to reduce school bag weights by a substantial 25% in the upcoming academic year. The strategic shift involves transitioning from 90 GSM to 70 GSM paper thickness for textbooks, anticipating a noteworthy 25-30% reduction in bag weight across various classes, potentially translating to one kilogram lighter textbooks for Class X students.

As the news of Telangana's initiative reached the bustling streets of Mumbai, The Free Press Journal (FPJ) delved into the city's response. The consensus? A collective sigh of relief and excitement for a more enjoyable educational journey for the city's young minds.

For many students like Rudra V, a Grade 2 student from VIBGYOR Roots and Rise School in Malad, the burden of carrying heavy bags is a daily struggle. Weighing 35kg with a 5kg bag, Rudra expresses excitement at the prospect of lighter textbooks. His father, Ranjeet V, suggests a shift in the daily subject routine, allowing longer durations focused on just three subjects, potentially bidding farewell to the exhaustive exercise of carrying all textbooks every single day.

Rudra V, 2nd Grade Student his weight and his school bag weight

Rudra V, 2nd Grade Student his weight and his school bag weight | Special Arrangement

Ranjeet goes a step further by proposing the introduction of lockers in schools for textbooks during the day. According to him, it will not only make it more convenient for kids but also ensure that the burden is reduced, both figuratively and literally.

Shweta Pednekar, mother of a Grade 3 student, Saee Pednekar, from Hiranandani Foundation School in Thane, brings a different perspective to the table. With her daughter's 33kg weight and a 5kg bag, she emphasises the need for measures to reduce bag weight. While expressing scepticism about the impact of a 20 GSM reduction in paper weight, Pednekar believes it would be a beneficial step.

Saee Pednekar, 3rd Grade Student school bag weight

Saee Pednekar, 3rd Grade Student school bag weight | Special Arrangement

Pednekar suggests a practical solution that could revolutionise the way students approach their studies. If schools adopt a practice where students leave their textbooks in school during the week, taking them home only on weekends for studying, it could provide a feasible resolution to the perennial problem of heavy bags.

School reaction

Suma Das, the principal of Pawar Public School in Bhandup, emphasises the importance of decreasing bag weight while underlining the need for a concept-based approach in education. She advocates “focus on quality over quantity in textbooks, incorporating more application-based learning, and adopting a student-centric teaching approach.”

Despite the commendable government initiative, challenges persist. Das suggests that embracing a concept-based curriculum, aligned with the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP), could effectively address these concerns.

Anjuman-I-Islam's Saif Tyabji Girls' High School’s Principal Shama Tarapurwala appreciates the proposed changes but raises concerns about potential issues with thinner paper leading to torn pages. She suggests alternative solutions like “providing school-based cupboards for book storage and encouraging the use of digital resources to reduce the need for physical textbooks.”

Tarapurwala proposes practical adjustments to the school timetable to further alleviate the burden, concentrating on specific subjects on designated days. 

“For example, having multiple math periods on one day and language periods on another could significantly reduce the number of subjects students need to carry each day, lightening their load”, she further added.

While Mumbai’s parents and teachers welcome Telangana’s move to reduce the burden of books, they consider the combination of thinner textbooks, innovative storage solutions and practical timetable adjustments as measures that can pave the way for a lighter and more student-friendly learning experience.

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