A primary school in Kerala is easing the heavy loads off of its pupils, literally, by picking their school bags up in the mornings and dropping them off at their school.
In an initiative aimed at encouraging more children to walk to school and discouraging dependency on vehicles, GM Upper Primary School in Kattampally sends a special van to pick up the bags from a designated point and brings them to school, free of charge.
N M Ravi, the teacher behind the initiative, said to the Times of India, “We introduced the facility last year… as many students found it difficult to carry heavy bags to school.”
Many children are unable to afford the local school bus and have no choice but to walk. With heavy bags on their backs, the journey can often be very uncomfortable. Some children even miss time from school or end up skipping it altogether to avoid having to do it. The initiative aims to help out such children and ensure that they are not over-looked. So far it’s claimed that as many as 300 children have benefited.
In 2016 the Maharashtra state government also raised similar concerns regarding the weight of pupils’ school bags, stating that many children carry too many books to school risking damage to their backs. A system of random checks on the weight of schoolbags was introduced in primary schools by the education department which prescribed weight of bags for classes I to VIII to be between 1,800gm and 3,425gm.