Maharashtra: 58% school kids suffer from ailment due to heavy bags

Children carry very heavy school bags in comparison to their age and over 58 per cent of students below 10 years of age are suffering from orthopaedic ailments, said a Maharashtra-government-appointed committee report submitted to the Bombay High Court on Friday.

A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawala was informed that the 12-page report has been accepted by the government and a decision will be soon taken on implementation of its recommendations. After perusing the report, the court said "soon children will have to carry trolley bags as the backpacks they carry at present is not enough."

Justice Colabawala, whose children go to school, said "everyday all the subjects are taken. Hence, a student has to carry all the textbooks and its notebook. There has to be a change in the time table."

The court has asked the government to file its reply by July 23 and also wanted to know by when it is likely to implement the suggestions made by the committee in its report. The court suggested the government consider directing schools to set up lockers where children can keep their textbooks instead of carrying it daily.

Justice Kanade, however, immediately observed that then children would not be able to study at home. "So much homework is given that students need the books at home also. If students start keeping their books in schools, then parents will have to buy two sets - one for home and one for school," the court said.

The committee has recommended that one book should be used for three months for each subject and the textbook weight can be reduced by using less weight paper and no hardcover. Further, it also suggested use of e-classroom, audio- visual technology and other technological means for teaching.

The bench, after going through the report, said "we find the suggestions are quiet reasonable but for this year we assume that it would not be possible to implement them." The government had appointed the committee following a public interest litigation filed by activist Swati Patil on the issue.

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