Mumbai: School introduces light cloth bags, but parents don't like design

Jun 28, 2016, 08:26 IST | Pallavi Smart

The Girton High School introduced its custom-made cloth bags; while parents have welcomed a lighter school bag, they don’t like its design

The Girton High School in Grant Road has tried to make light of things. Specifically, the oft criticized overweight school bag. They have introduced a custom-made, cloth, sling bag for their students so that they don’t have to carry heavy bags and have made it compulsory. However, this has angered many parents, who are unhappy with its design.

Parents have objected to the design of the Girton High’s school bag, saying it has only one compartment, isn’t waterproof and since it is a sling, the weight completely falls on one shoulder. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Parents have objected to the design of the Girton High’s school bag, saying it has only one compartment, isn’t waterproof and since it is a sling, the weight completely falls on one shoulder. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

While the parents have welcomed the idea of a lighter bag, they are upset with its design.

To start with, the bag has just one compartment. This way, the child has to dump everything in one section alone. Besides, it is not waterproof and since it is a sling, it puts all the weight on one shoulder.

With the beginning of the new academic year, the school issued a diktat that all students will have to buy a specially designed bag from a vendor specified by them. When parents objected to the move, the school authorities told them that they observed children using overweight school bags and the design was introduced to make life easy for them.

Bringing back the jhola
“We used to have similar ‘jhola-bags’ when we were in school and there were never any backache complaints. You bring anything new and there will always be opposition to it. By bringing back the old style, we have practically stopped competition between children and parents about who has big, trendy, costlier bag or any other school accessory. This is why parents are complaining now. But they do not realize that it is all just to help children,” said Dr. Villy Kama, trustee of the school.

Insisting that it is not a sudden move, Dr. Kama, explained, “We have been conducting random checks of schoolbag weight in past one year. We have observed how whenever a students’ bag is beyond a prescribed weight by government resolution, it is generally the school bag itself which is heavy [than the things inside, like books, tiffin, etc]. Hence, we asked parents to change to the simpler cloth schoolbags. But even after warning them for six months, nobody listened to us and so we had to make the changes for children’s benefit.”

When questioned how only changing bag will help when textbooks, notebooks and other stationery items etc. are the same, Ayesha Mistri, principal of the school defended that the school has also redesigned the time-table to ensure that at any given day, a child is not carrying more than three books. “We have made arrangements for drawing class material and craft, needle-work material to be kept in school so that children need not carry it in school bag.”

Shouldn’t be compulsory
Swati Patil, who had filed a PIL in the Bombay high court against the increasing weight of schoolbags, has come out in support of the school’s idea. “It is good that the school is actually thinking on the lines of reducing school bag weight. But while doing so, the educational institutes should consult parents and take them in confidence to avoid complications and conflicts,” she said, adding, “There cannot be any compulsion for it.”

Parents say
More than the school, us parents are worried about the weight of the school bag that out child has to carry everyday. Merely changing the design will not serve the purpose. Also, why make it mandatory? 

Everything from books, to compass box, tiffin box, water bottle has to be kept in that one compartment which does not even have a zip. Moreover, the bag is a sling, which means it rests all weight only on one shoulder, which more uncomfortable than the backpack. The new bag is not useful in the rainy season as it is made of cloth and is not waterproof.

Battle of the Bags

Pic/Datta Kumbhar

The Girton School Bag 
>> Sling bag made of cloth; has one belt
>> Horizontally shaped and rests a little above knee
>> Has one compartment; is not waterproof
Weight: Approx 200 grams
Price: Rs 350

Pics/Sameer Markande

Other popular schoolbags
>> Horizontal school bag with two handles
>> Rexine cover – not waterproof
>> Several compartments
Weight: Approx 750 grams
Price: Rs 600

>> Vertical school bag with two handles
>> Rexine cover – waterproof with additional plastic design
>> Several compartments
Weight: approx 500grams
Price: Rs 400

>> Vertical bag with two handles 
>> Waterproof
>> Several compartments
Weight: Approx 200 grams
Price: Rs 450

>> Vertical cloth bag 
>> Not waterproof
>> Fewer compartments
Weight: Approx 250 grams
Price: Rs 350

Go to top