The Burden of Heavy School Bags

The Burden of Heavy School Bags
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It is but a sad sight to see young children almost snowed under the weight of the school bags, each morning and afternoon. The shoulders of the young children and students of Kashmir droop and sag under the weight of these bags. Not only is the physical aspect of the burden of school bags onerous but it also stretches the imagination of an observer and poses the question: if books form the gravamen of the loads carried by students in their bags, then how exacting must be the schedule and the regimen these young buds must have to undergo at their respective schools? Heavy school bags and the burdens thereof of young children and students is a recognized issue so much so committees have been formed and sent to different places to study models and transfer these to Kashmir. ( The latest one has been that of the Tamil Nadu model which has been found to be rigorous , robust and workable but yet the model has not been replicated here). The answer clearly does not lie in committees then. It all lies in the domain of common sense and persevering with the solutions arrived at after, to repeat, a commonsensical process of finding answers. Two obvious solutions lend themselves as possible solutions here. One is that, with the integration of Information, Communication and Technologies (ICT’s) in the very fabric of our lives, it stands to reason that ICT’s be made part and parcel of the education systems and processes in Kashmir. If this happens, at one fell swoop, the problem of heavy and swollen bags is resolved. But, having said this, the comprehensive integration of technology into education systems and processes, is something whose time horizon can neither be foretold nor is it a given. It will, even if the will and determination , on part of powers that be , is there, is a time consuming process. In the interim period then solutions that alleviate the burden of heavy school bags must be found. These could vary from place to place but, in general, tailored solutions that apply to a given situation and condition must be found. In the ultimate analysis, learning and education, at all levels, must be fun and generate curiosity to know more. But, our systems , of which heavy school bags , are both a metaphor, and symptom, make learning burdensome and a deadweight. This needs to change and lighter, peppier school bags would be a good start.