By Mohammed Abdul Jawad
One day, I noticed my neighbour with his little daughter, probably a student of first class, waiting in front of the building for the school bus. She stood there— she visibly slim—but, on the contrary, next to her was her heavy backpack.
“Does she need to carry this load, enough to ache her back and spine?” I asked my neighbour, with an air of curiosity.
He gave a prompt reply: “O, school teachers prefer kids to carry everything—text books, work books, class note books, assignment book, homework books, scrap book…”
I wondered then, where goes the concept of books by timetables? It’s pity to see little kids lugging along satchels that are too overweight! Little angels need tiny stuff, and not heavy backpacks.
Sometimes, we happen to see scores of kids, like junior weight-lifters, carrying their heavy satchels, and some, under the stress, make a drooping posture, with a burdening load on their backs.
Since a decade or little more, there’s so much change everywhere. Each and every system had undergone drastic changes, and so the educational system too had its modified looks, with scraped old versions discarded by addition of revised and new curricula, and then new rules, new stipulations, new fee structure, new syllabi, and God knows what else…but let me bold enough: the harsh thing is burdening our school children’s back with heavy bags.
Imagine how parents feel their kids walk off to school with a heavier bag. Obviously, kids wearing overweight backpacks across both shoulders end up their days, with fatigue. Also, during summers carrying such a huge load is very difficult for a kid.
So, let’s think of precaution for children’s health. Firstly, it is the responsibility of teachers that they keep their students informed about those books of relevant subjects that are needed on specific days as per the schedule, and then they need to adjust homework or project work so that students need not carry every heavy book back and forth. Secondly, parents should keep checking their children’s bags to see what is in there is on a daily basis, and at the same time dispose any unneeded stuff to keep the bag light weight.
It is funny, these days, besides textbooks, notebooks, workbooks, notepads, geometry box, lunch box, snacks, children also slip in things of their choice such as mobile phones, CDs, computer games, (and some even) iPads into their backpacks—thus, burdening themselves with additional loads.
Three decades back, probably in 80s, a typical nursery pupil just carried a slim bag that hardly consisted of 8 x 10 inches writing slate, encased in a plastic or wooden frame, one or two chalk-pieces, a well-sharpened pencil, and a wonderful rhyming book of those easy-to-remember short poems, a four-ruled book for the kids to practice writing and learning alphabets. That was pretty enough! What else do you expect a lower kindergarten (L.K.G.) kid to carry?
An additional, but essential load was a rectangular 5×7 inches lunch-box, and a simple, plastic water bottle, with an attached straw to the cap. That was all!
Better were the good old days—few books, a concrete study, a little homework, no tuitions, good play and early to sleep. Believe me, with this norm, one can have best schooling, with no traces of discomfort, muscle strain or back pain.