I have written about how School Bag Policy 2020 is a casual and miserable attempt to help students. The policy is such a wretched document that just the primer and the notification took up an entire article. In fact, each sentence of the policy is such a gem in itself that even an epic cannot do justice to its marvellous and spectacular silliness and stupidity.
Anyhow, to keep the discussion short and save you the long-winded road to nowhere, let’s go directly to the recommendations in the School Bag Policy 2020 for the reduction in the weight of school bags.
Pass The Buck To Parents And Students
Sample some of the advice put forth in School Bag Policy 2020:
- School Bag Awareness Programme needs to be held in the beginning of every academic session, wherein parents and students would get orientation on this issue.
- Information about the heavy bag needs to be communicated to the parents of the child and the bag needs to be monitored for a week or two for ensuring that the child starts carrying a lighter bag.
- Counseling sessions for students to bring lighter school bags. Parents are asked to monitor the weight of school bag.
Does the policy imply that it is a hobby of students to lug heavy school bags to schools? Does the policy assume that every parent wants their child to be a champion weight-lifter and hence deck them up with the hefty school bags? Or is there a hypothesis that each day children carry some kind of hidden treasure from their respective homes to unload into the schools?
Each parent of a school-going child and the child will vouch that they have no say in what’s to be carried to schools each day. The schools barrel them down with textbooks and reference books, notebooks and activity books, diaries and journals etc. What options do the parents and the children have apart from toeing the line, paying the bills and hauling the school bags?
Who needs to attend the School Bag Awareness Programme? The parents and the children or the flawed educational establishment? The schools themselves have stuffed the school bags and mandated them to be carried in full. What purpose does the information to the parents about the heavy bags serve? Who needs counseling here? The expert group who drew up the School Bag Policy 2020 is a sure-shot candidate, but the students???
Cloud Cuckoo Land
The reality as mentioned by the expert group is in stark reality to the flight of fantasy recommendations arrived at by the same fanciful group, in the same report.
The reality: In Classes I-II, the homework hours vary from 0 to 2 hours daily. Whereas, for Classes III onwards, it varies from 2 to 5 hours daily.
The recommendation: NO homework up to Class II and a maximum of two hours a week from Classes III-V.
The expert group knows that children are loaded with homework. Yet, it makes a pious announcement that there shall be no homework going ahead. Who is going to ensure the implementation of this cuckoo recommendation?
The reality: Though only 2 subjects are recommended for Class I-II, yet many schools offer other subjects. For Classes III-V, beyond NCF-2005 recommendations, there is a range of subjects which is offered by the schools.
The recommendation: As per the NCF-2005, schools shall offer two Languages and Mathematics in Classes I-II and two Languages, Mathematics and Environmental Studies in Classes III-V.
Nation Curriculum Framework 2005 exists since 2005. Yet, the schools do not follow it. What makes the expert group think that now suddenly the schools will consider it a gospel?
The reality: Schools prescribe more than one textbook for the same subject in secondary and higher secondary classes.
What? Leave aside school bags, why not penalize these schools for violating basic norms?
The expert group has unearthed all the above reality in their survey. And the expert group knows very well that the schools are a law unto themselves and there is no curbing their behaviour. Yet, it gives sermons to follow the laid-down directives that nobody has followed till now, not following as on date and not going to follow in future.
The Other Gems
- The issues related to heavy school bag need to be included in the pre-service and in-service teacher education curriculum.
- Designing of textbooks with less information and more space to experiential learning.
- Students need to be taught on how to use ‘filing’ in an efficient and intelligent way.
Well, I am going to stop here. Hope you get the picture.
In nutshell, the National School Bag Policy 2020 is full of inanities and absurd recommendations.
Ministry of Education, CBSE, NCERT, Schools, Expert Group – are aware of what goes into the making of a heavy school bag. They, themselves, are part of the problem and they cannot be expected to arrive at a solution. With them at the helm of affairs and their beloved School Bag Policy 2020, the weight of school bags is only going to increase further.
The real solution is fair and simple – School Bag Free Education. I will write about it in the next article.
PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.