November 26, 2018
The weight of the schoolbag has remained a perpetual vexed problem in the educational and health sectors. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has made recommendations and instructed CBSE schools functioning in States and Union Territories to adhere to weight guidelines and to be strictly complied with.
The official circular says the permissible limit has been classified into categories. Children studying in Grades I and II should not carry weight more than 1.5kg, III and IV 2.3 kg, VI and VII 4 kg and VIII to IX up to 4.5 kg. The limit for Grades X and above is maximum 5 kg.
The advisory also states homework should not be assigned to the students of Grades I and II.. Psychologist Nayak says, “Young children are impulsive and lack control. Hence, they often get distracted and fail to concentrate on one task to follow directions. Often, this leads to parent-child conflict where parents yell, scream, scold and at times hit the kid for not paying attention. Kids are too immature to deal with challenges and distracted from doing homework back in their houses.”
Heavy schoolbag weight can lead to back pain in children, which increases the chances of it turning chronic in adulthood. Unfortunately, there has not been much research done on how much weight a child should carry, says, orthopaedics and the department head at PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Dr BK Dinakar Rai.
Shoulder problems, muscular strain and posture deformities would become more lasting if older children or adults carry heavy shoulder bags for long durations, say health experts.
Homemaker, Kanti Prabhu says, “My daughter studying in class III started having neck, shoulder, back and arm pain and sometimes headache because of the heavy schoolbag. She is lean and it was taxing as a mother to see her carry a bagpack half her weight. I am thankful that the government recognised the need to address this issue.”
Heavy backpacks can cause back pain if one does not carry them properly. “Kids sometimes carry their backpacks over one shoulder straining the muscle as the weight is unequally distributed. This muscle imbalance can sometimes cause muscle sprain, strain, spasm and the kid may develop back problems later in life if not treated timely. Backpacks only pose a risk when worn incorrectly. Otherwise it remains to be helpful and a very convenient accessory,” says orthopaedic Manoj Joshi.