Tired of carrying 5-7 kg of books on their backs in order to attend school everyday, two boys from Chandrapur district near Nagpur organised a press conference to bring their plight to people’s attention.
Media persons in Nagpur were taken aback when two 12-year-old boys from Vidya Niketan School walked into the Press Club and expressed a desire to hold a press conference.
They said they wanted to highlight the hardships school students endure from having to carry heavy backpacks laden with books to school everyday.
“We carry a minimum of 16 books for 8 subjects daily and sometimes their number increases to 18 or 20, depending upon the subjects for which the classes would be held for the day. Our school bags weigh between 5-7 kg and its exhausting to carry them to our classroom located on the third floor,” the Class 7 boys told reporters.
“We had given applications to our principal to consider reducing the weight of school bags a couple of times but the same failed to evoke any response,” they added.
The duo said the bags are so heavy that the parents of the school children have to often help them carry them into school.
It turned out, however, that the boys were not aware of the Maharashtra government’s directive to schools (following a Bombay High Court Order) to reduce the weight of the bags carried to schools by the students. The state had issued a circular to schools, fixing the responsibility on principals and school management to follow the directive or face action for not obeying this rule. The circular is binding on all 1.06 lakh schools in the state.
The boys offered some suggestions to resolve the problem. The school could make arrangements to keep their daily workbooks in school or reduce the number of class periods in the day, they proposed.
“There are 8 periods a day on average for which we have to carry textbooks for each subject along with their respective work books. In addition, few more books also need to be carried, on some of the week days, which prove to be cumbersome,” they said.
They concluded their interaction with the reporters by stating that if the school does not address their grievances they would go on a hunger strike until their “just” demands are met.