Mumbai: The new directives on the weight of students’ schoolbags, issued eleven days ago by the ministry for human resource development, is yet to be implemented in the state. The Centre initiated new policies on this subject on November 22, but the state education ministry has not yet issued directions to schools in Maharashtra.
The implementing body, the deputy director’s office, is responsible for checking the weight of students’ schoolbags in Mumbai and the authorities revealed they are awaiting directions from the state education ministry, as they cannot implement a policy unless they receive a direct order from the former.
Rajendra Ahire, deputy director of education in-charge, Mumbai region, told The Free Press Journal, “We have not received any direction from the state education ministry yet over this policy. We agree the centre issued the circular 11 days ago and informed all schools of all states and union territories of India to implement this policy. But we are waiting for a direction from the state.”
In addition, the deputy director said, “We do not have a sufficient number of education beat officers to constantly check the weight of school bags in every school and in every block of the city.” Schools have previously complained, the state education department has failed to conduct regular checks. Moreover, some schools have opposed the new policy, because it states, the weight of the schoolbags will depend on the class in which the child is studying.
Smitha Tambe, a teacher said, “The new policy states, the weight of a schoolbag in first grade, should be within 1.5 kilogrammes (kg), while that of a student of Class 10 should be within 5 kg. But every student, irrespective of which grade they are studying, has a different body weight, so we cannot generalise and slot all into one category. Another difficulty we are facing with this policy is to keep tabs on the weight of the schoolbags of all students in one school, since the parameters are different for every class.”
Schools in Maharashtra are still following the old policy, which states the weight of a schoolbag should not be more than 1/10th the weight of a child. A teacher said, “We are keeping a check on our students and their schoolbags by ourselves. We inform them constantly not to carry additional books to avoid heavy weight.