The weight of a school bag in Delhi is officially fixed, according to a Delhi government circular on Saturday. It says school bags for students in Class I and II should not be above 1.5 kg; for Classes III to V (two-three kg), classes VI-VII (four kg), Classes VIII-IX (4.5 kg), and Class X (five kg).
The circular also asks schools not to assign any homework to Class I and II children. It asked schools to inform the students in advance about the books and notebooks to be brought to the school on a particular day. The decision of the Delhi Directorate of Education follows Centre's order and guidelines for capping the weight of school bags for classes I-X."
Heavy school bags are a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of the school students. It has a severe adverse physical effect on the growing children which can cause damage to their vertebral column and knees," said the circular.
The load of the school bag, according to the circular, is increased by bringing textbooks, guides, homework/classwork notebooks, rough work notebooks, water bottles, lunch box and sometimes the heavy bag itself. "The schools running under Directorate of Education have to follow the textbooks prescribed by the SCERT, NCERT and CBSE.
The number of textbooks in different classes should not exceed the number prescribed by the statutory bodies. The Head of schools and teachers should frame a well-designed timetable for each class so that children do not have to carry too many books to the school," the circular said.
It also said that reading library books and participation in games, sports, art &culture and other creative and co-curricular activities for holistic development of students must be encouraged.
"Three textbooks (of Hindi, English and Mathematics) have been prescribed for classes I and II. There shall not be any homework for these classes," it said. "As per the curriculum, six textbooks have been prescribed for classes VI to X -- three textbooks for three languages and one for Maths, Science and Social Studies each," said the circular.
"There shall be one notebook for each subject for exercises, projects, Unit Test, experiments etc. which the students need to bring as per timetable. Students should not be asked to bring additional books, extra material to the school."
"The students should always use both straps for carrying the bags and should not sling the bag over one shoulder. The students should keep the bag down while waiting for the school conveyance or in the school assembly," it added.
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development earlier this week had asked the states and UTs to ensure that there is no homework for students of Classes I and II and the guidelines capping the weight of school bags for classes I-X are adhered to.