Reducing weight of school bags: Government initiative remains confined to papers

Srinagar: The much hyped initiative to reduce the weight of school bags carried by school children have failed to take off, courtesy- indifferent attitude of the state government.

From past over six months the J&K government is processing the committee report submitted with recommendations to reduce the weight of school bags of children enrolled in private schools.

The delay in finalizing the process has enraged the parents who accuse the government of giving a free hand to the private schools to put small school going children under stress by forcing them to carry heavy school bags on their tender shoulders.

“This is an irony that the new academic session started but the government couldn’t finalise the recommendations for their implementation in schools. The government is hand-in-glove with private schools due to which the small kids are suffering,” said Muhammad Arif, a parent from Srinagar.

The high level committee constituted by government last year to suggest measures on reducing the weight of bags carried by school going children has submitted its report. However, the government is still “examining” the report from past almost one year.

Parents and concerned teachers were hopeful that the report will be accepted by the government before the start of the new academic session in the schools.

“Had government been serious about it then it would have implemented the committee report in schools. Ironically, the government has its own reservations,” Arif said.

The government is playing dilly delaying tactics despite the High Court orders to reduce the weight of school bags.

“The department has not fixed any deadline for implementation of the recommendations submitted by the committee last year,” said an official wishing not to be named.

It may be recalled that the issue of heavy school bags came to limelight after the issue was highlighted in a section of media that heavy bags were proving detrimental for the small school going children.

Following the hue and cry over the issue, the education department last year issued a circular to private schools asking them to reframe the time table of lower classes in schools.

Also a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was also filed in J&K High Court regarding the same issue following which Education Department was directed to look for measures to address the issue.

Besides this, another initiative of education department to establish a move school remained confined to papers only. Interestingly, education minister in September last year announced that two schools will be established, one each in Srinagar and Jammu, where the children of Durbar Move employees can get admissions and study till Class 8th.

“There was no response from students towards the initiative. Subsequently government also didn’t take much pains to get the school established for the students,” an official said.

He said the department is yet to chalk out the financial liability due to which the initiative remained a non-starter.

The Move school in Kashmir, officials said was supposed to be set up in National High School in Karan Nagar. “But the initiative is still at a premature stage.”

Meanwhile, Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) GN Itoo said they have not received any directions from the government regarding the guidelines for reducing the weight of school bags.

“The committee report is still with government. We have no idea about it,” Itoo said.

When asked about establishment of move school, he said “the process is in pipeline and the case is lying with the administrative department,” he said.


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