Anandkumar has organised the pages of the syllabus into ten books, each covering a month of study.
The Children’s School Bags (Limitation on Weight), Bill of 2006, states that the weight of a school bag must not exceed more than ten per cent of the child’s body weight. It also directs respective state governments to ensure that schools provide lockers for students, adhere to the standards of measurements for bags and that students use both straps for carrying them.
While this rule sounds good on paper, in practice, children continue to lug heavy bags to school day in and out.
An idea implemented by Anandkumar Khalas, a 41-year-old Principal of Bhagad Government Primary School, Ahmedabad, has led to the weight of the school bags reducing drastically.
Here’s what he did
Students of primary grades carry all their subject textbooks to school each day. To reduce the weight of these books, Anandkumar has organised the pages of the syllabus into ten books, each covering a month of study.
This way, the students only carry the book that has the material that will be taught during the particular month. They will not need to lug around entire textbooks throughout the year.
Recognised at the Education Innovation Fair as a major achievement by the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT), this idea could well be replicated across schools in the country.
In a report published by The Times of India, Anandkumar said, “My daughter’s burden got me thinking. I used to drop her at the bus stop and realised how heavy her bag was. I discussed the problem with fellow teachers such as Alka Patel and decided to tear apart textbooks, taking the portion we are supposed to teach every month from each textbook and stitching the portions together. The later versions have blank pages for classwork.”
La Martiniere for Girls, in Kolkata, also had a similar initiative where students were provided with handouts, which contain a summary of the topic taught in class, and important points to refer. This model is in place for students from classes I to VIII, while students of class IX and above have lockers in school, to keep their heavier textbooks, reports The Telegraph.
Do read here about some similar initiatives of the government and schools.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)