SRINAGAR: After snubbing an earlier expert committee report, the School Education Department has now failed to act on the recommendations of another three-member committee that had travelled to Tamil Nadu to study the model adopted there for reducing school bag weight.
Joint Secretary JK Board of School Education (JKBOSE) Arif Ahmad Akhoon and two assistant directors (Planning and Statistics) from the JK Directorate of School Education, Mohammad Ishaq Sofi and Shobha Rani, were the members of the committee that travelled as a study group to Tamil Nadu in March this year.
The members studied the model for reducing the weight of school bags adopted by the southern-most state and submitted a report accordingly.
The School Education Department has not yet taken any call over implementing the committee’s report even as the latter submitted its recommendations over reducing the weight of school bags more than two months ago.
The committee submitted its report to Secretary School Education “within 10 days” after returning from Tamil Nadu, committee member Arif Akhoon told Kashmir Reader.
Over the Tamil Nadu model for reducing the weight of school bags, Akhoon said, “The chief observations there were that they have brought what would normally be three books – Mathematics, Science and Social Science – into a single cover.
“English and regional language are in another cover. So they have only two books for one semester,” he continued.
“As a result, the weight of the school bag is reduced to one-fifth.”
Besides “around 14 items, including textbooks, geometry box, crayons, four sets of uniforms provided by the school in-house”, Akhoon said adding that RO facilities were available in every school.
“Consequently, the students do not need to carry water bottles to school,” he said.
“It is such a perfect model, nowhere applied in North India,” added Akhoon.
Mohammad Ishaq, another committee member, said that the state government needed to “prepare ground” for the implementation of their recommendations to reduce the weight of school bags.
“We will have to change the syllabus. It will take some more time, but they will have to implement it some day,” he said.
He said that students under the Tamil Nadu model for reducing school bag weight “carry only those books required in a particular semester”.
“They have clubbed the textbooks of Science, Maths and Social Science into one. Through this, the weight of school bags has certainly reduced,” added Ishaq.
With the committee having submitted its report, Ishaq said, “Now it is up to the government to implement it.”
Secretary, School Education, Farooq Ahmad Shah declined to answer repeated calls by this reporter.
Interestingly, the department had earlier snubbed a four-member expert committee set up on direction from the state High Court.
The committee had also recommended ways to reduce the weight of school bags to the government, but its recommendations went ignored.