Bulging school bags

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With the onset of another academic season, the violation of the rights of children is again staring at us, with authorities doing nothing. This is not a new problem; it is now a perennial problem. We have been talking about it for many years now. But once again it is needed that the problem is brought to light. This is about the violation of the rights of the children. No, we are not focusing on child labour or other dangers to children. It’s about how our little children are made to carry heavy school bags on their tender back. It’s one of the grave concerns of the parents, and the concerned departments must take it seriously. The administration, apart from making a legal intervention in this, must dig into the deeper reasons of why the school bags are getting fatter by the day. Why we have these many books, notebooks, and stationary items to be daily carried to school. Is it driven by the sole motive of making profit, regardless of how it affects our education, and how it weighs down the shoulders and minds of our children? Isn’t it true that the education has been relegated to the back seat and materialist considerations have superseded everything else? The entire scheme stands turned upside down. Every single ingredient, it appears, is tailored to the needs of crass capitalism. Up till now the State Government has failed to implement the recommendations of the expert committee that had called for reducing the weight of schoolbags. If it is done now, one can only wish that it doesn’t take much to turn it into practice; though one would like to express surprise over this simple fact that such things involve common sense more than anything else. One wonders why our officials need to opt for circuitous routes when the point to be hit is not even a stone’s throw away. What does it take to thoroughly check a student’s bag and find out the unnecessary books, copies, and other material in it? What does it take to tell the school administration to create space for students to keep the extra material in the classroom itself? What does it take to ascertain which books are actually not needed, and are added just to make extra bucks? Remember it is most schools that are selling the books, copies, etc, along with school uniforms to their students; they are not just schools but have become books and uniform shops. If there is a will to do it, nothing can stop the officials from doing it. It is not that difficult to lighten up the weight our children carry daily on their shoulders, if only there is a will to do. Today our educational standard is at the lowest ebb due to the defective prospectus, syllabi and the method of examinations. All of these do not costume to the need of the student as well as to the society. There is wide-ranging propensity with the school authorities to prescribe more and more books for various types of study to the young students. Everyone notes negatively on the sight of young school boys and girls carrying hulking load of books on their backs. We cannot imagine advancing the process of gaining knowledge by prescribing lots of books for study with no time for these growing children. The process of learning should be an enjoyable occurrence, not an atrocious phenomenon which the students of today are strained to endure. Moreover, our policy on education only believes that students attend classes regularly, more and more children get admitted and there are less dropouts. In order to ensure regular attendance, several measures have been introduced, such as the mid-day meals and less failures up to class eight, etc. Again the stress is on the quantity and not on the quality. We have not been able to equip our schools and colleges fully in every area even in the 21st century and it can be seen that many schools in the State do not have proper accommodation and staff. The buildings of the schools are not well maintained and there are no facilities for human needs. So many schemes have been introduced and immense funds are being received from the Centre but it is very unfortunate that these are not properly utilized on infrastructure and other basic facilities of schools.