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15/12/2018

RENUKA SURYAVANSHI 
As per the recent order passed by the ministry of education, the schools have been asked to comply with, that institutions cannot assign homework to students of classes I and II. “Schools should not prescribe any other subjects except language and mathematics for classes I and II and language, EVS and mathematics for classes III to V students as prescribed by the NCERT,” the order said. Also, students should not be asked to bring additional books, extra materials and the weight of a school bag should not exceed the prescribed limit, the order added. “The weight of school bags for students of classes I and II should not exceed 1.5 kg, while the school bag of students of class III to V should weigh between 2 kg to 3 kg. The school bag of students of classes VI and VII should not be more than 4 kg, while weight of school bags of classes VIII and IX students should not be above 4.5 kg. The school bag of a class X student should not weigh above 5 kg,” the order said. 
Pune Pulse spoke to principals of reputed schools from the city to know their views. 
Jayashree Venkatraman, principal, SNBP School, Rahatani says, “Indian school students take the maximum number of tutorial classes with around 74 % choosing extra lessons in Maths states the findings of Global Education Survey. On the other hand there have been reports of students of class 1 and 2 carrying over 7 - 8 kgs weighing school bags. 
A million thanks to the recent directives issued by the Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry which prescribed weight limit of school bags for each class and the ban of Homework to the students of classes 1 and 2. Too much of academic tutoring in fact, robs the students of the pleasure to learn. In order to enhance their ability of learning, teachers in school give additional work assignment which further fuels longer hours and the vicious circle continues…. unknowingly we subject a child of less than 7 years to an academic exercise of over 6 hours. On an average a child of class 1 & 2 spends roughly 5 - 6 hours in school of which a minimum of 3 hours is dedicated to academics. This period is more than enough for productive learning so I appeal to parents/ teachers not to subject children to extra academic hours. Moreover the bag weight of the student should be regularly monitored and we need to ensure that it does not go beyond 10% of the child’s weight. Schools should ensure that the weekly time table that gets framed in the beginning of the year results in minimum books and notebooks to carry to school.” 
“Most children can’t wait to start kindergarten and approach the beginning of school with awe and anticipation. Kindergartners and 1st graders often talk passionately about what they learn and do in school. However the same excitement is lost when the child grows up. Who is to be blamed ? Parents, Schools or Teachers ? Definitely not the child !!! ”
In today’s scenario, no doubt the weight of school bag is more than the weight of child. Their bones are in growing stage and delicate. Small children are likely to develop permanent damage to their physical structure because of the heavy pressure of school bag on their spinal cord. It also result pain in back and shoulders. The timetable should be carefully prepared and nature of homework should be activity based i.e. interviews, physical activities, group activities with parents and peer group, visiting places, reading references etc. in which parents will be involved. Working parents are hardly getting any time to spend with their parents. Such kind of activities will help the children to spend at least some time with their parents and parents will understand capabilities and interest of their children,” says Urmila Sharma, 
Principal, Swami Vivekanand National School, Rahatani, Pune.

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