No Bag Day is an imperative need in every school across the country. The Education Ministry of the union government had issued an order directing all the schools to reduce the weight on the shoulders of the students, due to heavyweight. The excessive weight of school bags is a big weight on the back of children. It is a common sight to see students carrying school bags that are unnecessarily heavy and often larger in size than their backs. When the body weights and the weights of school bags of one hundred students from a Middle Secondary School in the country were randomly measured, the average weight of the school bags that the students carry to their schools was 17 percent of their average body weight of 40.20 percent. Heavy school bags are also causes of cervical and lumbar pains. Convincing claims also point out that reduction and shortening of the lumbar spine in proportion to the weight of the school bag will result in overloading and degenerative changes in the spine. Such changes are known causes of back pain in later years. Further, the toll of excessive weight of school bags on our school children will result in under-developed human capital because some studies have made a persuasive claim of causality between healthy bodies and high student achievement.
As per the Department of Public Instructions, Karnataka state has a total of 78,424 schools offering education at the primary and secondary level, out of these, 22,419 schools are located in the urban areas, and 56,005 are located in rural areas of the state. In response to the central government order, the state government issued a circular directing all types of schools to observe “No Bag Day” on the third Saturday. Dakshina Kannada is the first district in the state to introduce No Bag Day” every Saturday, which is considered to best practice. Other districts have implemented the scheme on one Saturday every month. Most of the government schools have implemented the scheme by default, as students are not carrying bags on Saturday. But in private schools, the management has not followed the directives of the government, hence discriminatory. Considering the problems in the private schools the state government has decided to implement “No Bag Day” on all Saturdays of the month, and orders are awaited. This has been hailed by the students’ community, teachers, and more importantly the parents. In fact, the parents have expressed serious concern about the heavy bags on the back of the children and their serious ill effects in terms of health and also the erosion of the human capital index. As there is no teaching-learning the schools can focus more on the following;
- Reduce the physical burden on the students
- Sports and games give physical exercise s leading to good health, as quoted in Fit India
- learn things from outside the syllabus thereby it will them to exhibit their talent
- Make use of the lab and library based on their needs.
- Enjoy dancing, besides art and other art forms.
- Go for a study picnic by visiting local heritage, museum, amusement, exhibition, zoo, and park of state/ local importance.
All these activities will break the monotony and ease the burden of the bag on the back. Further, physical exercise makes children fit both physically and mentally. All of these will accelerate the growth rate of human capital which is not optimistic compare to our neighboring countries such as Nepal, Srilanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.