Overloaded school bags become a serious problem for the school going children in the country. It is sad that almost no one seems to consider its long-term damaging effect on children. Although two years back the High Court ordered that load of the school bag shouldn't be more than 10 per cent of a children's body weight, reality has changed a little.
The reason for overloaded school bag lies in the unhealthy competition of achieving higher marks in examinations. Most of the parents are eager to get good results from their children and teachers are also keeping students busy with a lot of tasks in classes and at homes. It forces students to carry additional exercise books. For each subject, they have to bring separate exercise books for their class works and home works beside text books and work books. Moreover, they have to carry pencil boxes, water bottles, tiffin boxes, sports attires or stuffs in addition to books.
It is ridiculous to carry separate exercise books for each subject. One common exercise book, also dubbed a rough scribbling book or rough khata, should be enough for class works. Class routine and home works may also be distributed in such a way that students don't need to carry all the text and exercise books daily.
Again, it is the responsibility of schools to provide safe and pure drinking water and healthy tiffin. When they are charging a big amount, why students and teachers will not get safe drinking water in schools?
In fact, an economics is in operation behind the overloaded school bags. Separate exercise books and everyday home tasks for each subject mean sales of more exercise books at the stationery shops. Again many school authorities, having nexus with a few traders, compel students to purchase all the books and exercise books from those particular stationery shops and sometimes by paying higher prices than the normal. Beside extracting more money from guardians, higher consumption of disposable paper is adding to environmental hazard.
Lack of safe drinking water in school means increased sales of water pots and bottled water. Business of fancy water pots to attract children is growing no doubt. Continuous use of plastic is not only harmful for children's heath, but also posing risk to the already polluted environment. Yet again, overweight slowly reduces the durability of school bags and most guardians can't avoid children's insistence to purchase new bags.
Certain quarters are extorting large some of profits by these sales and underhand transactions.
But, the school bag economics doesn't stop here. Pain and physical discomfort due to carrying a heavy school bag regularly are creating stress and lack of attentiveness in a child and ultimately affecting their learning capability. Fatigue, muscle strain, back pain, distortion of spines and rounding of shoulders may occur in the long run. Parents have to rush to physicians for treatment and sometimes pay hefty sum for medicine and pathological tests.
Thus the economics of overloaded school bag is bad economics no doubt. Putting the millions of children under undue and unethical pressure of studies, a few people are doing brisk business and a number of rent seekers are also enjoying their shares. A strong vested quarter has already been formed which is also making every effort to block the weight reduction from school bags.
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