SRINAGAR: The School Education Department has failed to implement the recommendations by two expert committees-one set up over directions by the High Court last year-to reduce the weight of heavy bags of school children.
Over directions by the high court after a PIL was filed over the matter by a petitioner, Badrud Duja, the School Education Department had, in August last year, constituted a 4-member expert committee to file a report to the department.
The committee, which submitted its recommendations to the department in October that year, had retired professor, A G Madhosh, Chairperson JKBOSE, Veena Pandita, former principal Government College for Women Nusrat Andrabi and ex-principal Abdul Jabbar as its members.
Besides snubbing the said 4-member expert committee, the School Education Department has failed to act on the recommendations of another 3-member committee constituted by the department itself.
The committee members had travelled to Tamil Nadu to study the model adopted by the state for reducing weight of school bags.
Joint Secretary JKBOSE, Arif Ahmad Akhoon, Assistant Directors (Planning and Statistics), Directorates of School Education Kashmir and Jammu, 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 state from March 25-28.
Even as the committee filed its report to the School Education Department “within ten days” after returning from Tamil Nadu as per a committee member, the department has not yet taken any call over implementing the committee’s report.
Over the Tamil Nadu model for reducing weight of school bags, Joint Secretary JKBOSE, Arif Ahmad Akhoon told Kashmir Reader: “The observations in the report were that the students have only two books for one semester which contains Mathematics, Science and Social Science in one cover and English and regional language are in another cover.”
“As a result, the weight of the school bag is reduced to one fifth,” he said.
Besides around 14 items including textbooks, geometry box, crayons, four sets of uniforms provided by the school in house, Akhoon said that RO facilities were available in every school.
“The students do not need to carry water bottles to the school,” he said.
Another committee member said that the state government need to “prepare ground” for the implementation of their recommendations to reduce the weight of school bags.
“The syllabus has to be changed and it will take some more time. But have to implement the committee recommendations,” he said.
Badrud Duja, who had filed the PIL in the high court last year threatened that he will file a new petition asking for “contempt” proceedings against the School Education Department for its failure to comply by the court directions.
Secretary School Education, Rigzian Sampheal who was “yet to go through the reports” said that the expert committee reports over reducing school bags weight “would be taken to logical conclusion”.