Published: 30th May 2019
Regulate schoolbag weight, follow SCERT/NCERT books: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
But officials in the education department feel that proper implementation can happen only from the next academic year
In a bid to reduce the cost of education in private schools and regulate the weight of school bags to bring about uniformity in the curriculum of all schools in the country the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has instructed the District Education Officers to ensure that all schools — central government, CBSE and those following the State syllabus should abide by the SCERT or NCERT curriculum and evaluation method.
A memo to this effect was issued to all DEOs of Andhra Pradesh recently. But officials in the education department feel that for the ensuing academic year, the most that can be done is that the guidelines will be issued to schools of all management but proper implementation can happen only from the next academic year. It may be recalled the State Education Department has already issued a GO that capped the weight of the school bag way back in 2017. "The guidelines in the GO are being followed by private schools. They let children leave most of the books back in school and carry a minimum number of books to school every day," said B Venkata Narassamma, DEO, Hyderabad.
As per the GO students of Classes I and II should not carry bags weighing more than 1.5 kg, while for Classes III to V, the weight should not exceed 3 kg. For classes VI and VII, the school bag should not weigh beyond 4 kg and for Classes VIII and IX, not more than 4.5 kg. For Class X, the bag weight should not exceed 5 kg.
With regards to ensuring that all schools affiliated to State/Central Board to follow the curriculum (syllabus, textbooks) and evaluation procedure in elementary classes, strictly given by SCERT/NCERT as the case may be. B Seshu Kumari, director, SCERT said that at a primary level all schools have to follow SCERT or NCERT books. " Variations are there at the secondary level, which has to be looked into," she said. Hyderabad DEO, however, feels that implementation cannot happen until next academic year. Parents, on the other hand, feel like other initiatives, compliance with these recommendations will also remain on the paper.
"These guidelines will prove futile due to lack of monitoring mechanism. The real problem is who will monitor that school use only SCERT or NCERT books and who will weigh the school bags to ensure the load is within the prescribed limits? With a number of education inspector posts lying vacant since the last 15 years, there is no authority to keep a check," said Nagati Narayana, president Telangana Parents Association (TPA). He also ruled that NCPCR's counterpart in the state, the SCPCR, has not been constituted for the last three years. "If the government is sincere about implementing the order then it must take appropriate measures for its implementation," he added.