Monday, September 11th, 2017 07:19:52

Schools blatantly defy CBSE norms  

Education & Career

school kidsHeavy school bags, homework load detrimental to students’ health

Aarav, a 6-year-old kid, goes to school with a stressful load of heavy school bag and on return has to do a lot of homework.

My son has not yet started writing full words, said Aarav’s mother Deepika Agnihotri whose son is a standard I student of a public school in Indore. At the time of admission, school teachers assured us of no homework, contrary to their assurance they daily give lengthy homework, she added.

CBSE guidelines:

Long back the CBSE, through its circular No 31/2004, directed its affiliated schools for providing a stress free education to children in primary sections with a specific note that no homework should be given to students up to Class II, so that they may have enough time to develop life skills and adequate emotional rapport with their parents. “It is felt that at this age, learning should be as informal and joyous as possible so that there is time and scope for nourishing the mental health of students,” the circular stated.

Despite the CBSE directives many schools are still following the practice of giving tough homework including charts and models to students of various classes of primary and post-primary sections. Last year also CBSE has asked its affiliated schools to enforce measures to lighten students’ burden.  Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) has also asked its affiliated schools to shun homework till class 6.

Heavy bags cause fatigue which affects students daily performance in the class. According to the circular, “Small children whose spine is at a crucial stage of growth are most susceptible to back, muscle and shoulder pain and in extreme cases, the distortion of spinal cord”.

The board stated that Classes 1 and 2 should not be assigned homework or carry school bags and light weight textbooks should be prescribed. However, only few schools have actually responded to the directions of the board by relieving the children of stress. Teachers feel that students cannot rely only on the NCERT books in higher classes and reference books are required.

The board has also asked schools to set aside a few hours in the timetable for students to complete their homework and assignments, but schools do not follow the practice.

Recently an eighth class student hanged himself in Ranchi after allegedly failing to complete his summer vacation homework. Psychiatrists say that our teachers and educators need to be sensitized about mental health of children. They should abolish the traditional practice of giving lengthy homework. If they want to give some homework to keep the child busy at home it should be creative, meaningful and interesting not the stressful and burdensome. Stressful homework may cause depression in students. They should have less homework and more time to play at home.

Not only primary students but secondary and higher secondary students too face such problems. Educators should understand that every child cannot cope with the pressure of stressful homework and assignments.

Ruchi, a class 6 student said that every day she gets lengthy homework which at least takes an hour to complete. We get bored with such type of monotonous and time consuming activities, she added.

Dos and Don’ts

Parents should daily check bags of their kids to avoid carrying unnecessary articles and books.

Principals should check school bags randomly to ensure students aren’t carrying heavy bags.

Make the students aware of the adverse effects of fatigue caused due to heavy bags.

Don’t give lengthy homework to students and ask them not bring heavy school bag.

Make provision to complete homework or assignments during school hours.

Light-weight textbooks should be prescribed

Too many additional books should not be prescribed.

Teachers should not pressurize students for carrying all textbooks or workbooks.

Students can share the burden of textbooks with their friends.

Parents should buy lighter backpacks with two taut straps.

Don’t allow students to hang bag on their shoulders with only one strap.


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