TODAY -

A forced load on little angels

Rabin Prasad Kalita *

School bags from Students appearing for Class XII Exam at Imphal on 22 February 2016
School bags from Students appearing for Class XII Exam at Imphal on 22 February 2016 :: Pix - Shanker Khangembam



Isn't it pitiable while you see off your children of kindergarten carrying a huge backpack to their school? Can't we think of it to lessen their burden on back? Yes, there are reasons mainly on their health concerned we ought to think it over in a collective way.

I would like to share an observation of my own. Shrianshu and Naman are the two little cute kids of my tenants. One studies at standard-I (one) and the another is at III(three) in KV Borjhar. I never see their normal height while they walk towards their school as I happen to see at the time of their play at my courtyard.

I see them going to the school from my porch daily at a fixed time when I sit with a cup of hot tea in one hand and a newspaper in another. They walk with a big backpack filled with heavy text books, note books, water bottle, lunch box, pen-pencil box, sports kit etc.whichperhaps make them to lean forward to match the balance along with their body weight and the load they carry.

It seems like a hump swells out of their back and thus shrink from their normal height. I love to see them off always but, at the same time believe me I don't enjoy the way they carry their school bags. It's really so pitiable. Isn't it a kind of forced child labour? I whisper at me!

Carrying a heavy bag by middle class students on a regular basis maylead to strained backs and necks.Kids are left with no options these days than to carry heavy school bags for a number of reasons.

Sometimes it becomes very difficult for parents to understand why children are complaining about their health, especially because they are at a growing phase as I was not aware of my daughter's complaints at that stage.

Moreover, many of the children are not so strong enough to carry such heavy bags.In other words, a heavy bag puts the child's health and physical development at a threat which can hamper their overall growth.

Heath experts say, a substantial numbers of primary students suffer from back pain or strain on the neck by the age of 14 and there is a rise in cases of spinal abnormalities.

One of my friends Dr. Ranjan Baruah says,children's skeletons are still growing so,at this critical time of their growth, carrying heavy bags can cause lasting and irreversible damage to their health. He also emphasized that, if a child carriesmore than 15 per cent of their body weight over their shouldersmay put undue stress on the muscles, ligaments and vertebral disk and thus damaging them.

As per Dr. Baruah's advice, the weight of a school bag should not cross more than 10% of his/her body weight. But, practically I have noticed that, many youngsters are carrying as much as 25% and even beyond each day of their body weight around.A heavy bag slung over one shoulder can wield unnatural force on the spine and develop a bad posture.

I have something to suggest and appeal to dear parents as well as to the school authorities, lest it could help to reduce the burden of little ones:- Parents are being urged to keep an eye on children's backpacks so that they do not cause problems on their health when they get older.

Parents should ensure that, when buying a bag, it is paramount to buy a well-designed bag with wide and well-padded shoulder straps that reduces pressure on the neck and shoulders. Check your child's posture after he/she has put the bag on. Make sure that, your child is only carrying the items they need for school that day remove any unnecessary books and equipment.

Students should be allowed to carry only one big notebook with sections for all subjects instead of different ones for various subjects. Accordingly department of education also may think over to go for a common text book for different subjects of different classes up to primary level so, that the burden of carryingmany books by those little angels are lessened.

Another very effective way to tackle this problem is that, the children can be allowed to keep their books in the school desk or in particular bookshelf and be asked to take home the ones where there is home work. This will also reduce the burden to a huge extent.

We can make use of technology in education effectively to ease the weight of their bags by introducing children friendly tabs. Tabs will have all the subjects installed in to them and also have facility for the children to write their homework in it. Probably, this revolutionary concept will find a playful as well as joyful state of mind of the children and may make them more active. The purpose of minimizing the load of school bags also can be attained this way up to a great extent.

So, make children free from beasts of burden and let them enjoy their Childhood.


* Rabin Prasad Kalita wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on April 29, 2017.


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