School Bags Limitation Weight Act; Private schools to face fine, cancellation of registration

PESHAWAR, Oct 18 (APP):A recent research conducted by experts in Spain revealed that the children who carried 10 percent extra weight of school bags than their body weight face multiple complication including sever pain in neck, back and shoulder while it also had worst effects on their overall growth.

Attaching priority to children’s health the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet recently approved a proposed “School Bags Limitation Weight Act 2019” in which the public and private schools would be bound to reduce the weight of school bags less than 15 percent of the child’s weight.

The bill proposed severe legal action against principals of public schools while private schools would face a penalty of Rs 200,000 and cancellation of registration as well.

The public and private schools would provide lockers to students for keeping their books, copies and other necessary items.

The bill which was proposed on the directives of Peshawar High Court proposed different weight of schools bags for students of class KG to Grade-12.

According to the draft bill the weight of school bag for pre-grade-I should be 1.5, 2.4 kg for grade-II, 2.6 for class 2, 3 kg for class-III, 4.4 kg for grade IV, 5.3 kg for class-V, 5.4 kg for grade-VI, 5.8 kg for Grade-VII, 5.9kg for grade-VIII, 6kg for class-IX, 6.5 kg for grade-X, 7 kg for class-XI and XII.

The initiative of the government was largely lauded by civil society, parents and teachers as well. They said that modern education system has overburden the school children while compromising on their mental and physical health.

A renowned journalist Sehryar Jalil working on education said that the practice of less weight school bag for children was first introduced soon after world war-1, saying that the school children had to travel 10 to 20 kilometers by foot to reach their schools at that time therefore the decision was taken.

He said later the governments and education departments paid no attention to the practice due to availability of personal or private transport facilities to children that resulted in gradual increase of the weight of school bags.

Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar’s Assistant Professor of Peads Medicine, Dr Mohsin Hayat Safi said that they were approached by parents for common exhaustion and tiredness issues in their children.

He explained that children felt pain in shoulders and back bone due to heavy bags.

Dr. Mohsin further said that children’s body position got disturb if they use one shoulder for their heavy bags. Their lumber area back bone might be affected due to heavy bags said Dr. Mohsin.

A civil society member Mujahid Khan, resident of Badh Ber Peshawar lauded the government legislation related to heavy bags children carrying to schools.

He said he has three children studying in different grades and was always compelling task for the children to go to school having heavy bags.

A driver of private school van Luqman Khan told that he takes 10 children of different grades to a primary school in his van and when he loads their bags at rooftop of the vehicle it seems more than 100kg to him.

According to an international research on school bags by a NGO, it was disclosed that all the children of same age can’t carry school bag equal to their own body weight and extra burden adversely affect their growth as well as causes damage to backbone.

A mother of two school children, Dr Uzma of Peshawar University said that she was very happy with the decision of the KP government, adding that her 10-year old daughter frequently faced backache problem and on her medical checkup the doctor recommended considerable reduction in her school bag weight which he said was affecting her backbone.

She said “I feel immensely relaxed now after decision of the government and hope that soon the act would become law.”
She said that the government should also ban bags with wheels as these could cause fatal accident for students while crossing roads or going upstairs in schools.

An official of Education department said that the provincial government was also considering to reduce the weight of books and copies by using high quality but light weight material.

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