THE image of young children lugging heavy school bags is a common one across Pakistan. From elite private schools to government schools, nearly all educational institutions in this country seem to insist that youngsters carry heavy burdens. However, as medical specialists have pointed out, heavy school bags are taking a major toll on children’s health. The deputy medical superintendent at Karachi’s Abbasi Shaheed Hospital recently wrote a letter to school principals stating that weighty bags can cause neck, back and shoulder pain in children. The doctor added that many young patients had complained of ailments such as stiff neck and shoulder pain. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has taken a positive step in this regard by calling for the formation of a working group to look into the matter of heavy school bags and the effects this has on children’s health.

Indeed, in this day and age, when nearly everything has ‘gone digital’ there need to be out-of-the-box solutions to lessen children’s load. Many elite private schools already send homework through email and apps, yet still make children carry a heavy load of books on their backs. Perhaps more digital solutions and a sensible schedule for carrying only required books can address the problem. Lockers may also be helpful. Public schools — lacking the advanced technologies of their more well-resourced private counterparts — must also be helped by the state to introduce classroom technologies that can reduce the load in children’s backpacks, and prevent the need to carry heavy textbooks. Learning should be an exercise that engages students; youngsters should not have to dread the prospect of carrying heavy bags to school every day. Initiatives such as the one taken by the KP administration should be replicated by other provinces as well. Indeed, with the involvement of educators, medical professionals and the government, it is hoped that a solution can be reached that reduces the weight of school bags and ensures a healthy future for the coming generations.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2018

Opinion

Police & prosecution
16 Jan 2021

Police & prosecution

Yasin Malik’s case is a revealing example of Modi’s political vendetta.
Changes in privacy policy
16 Jan 2021

Changes in privacy policy

It is indeed a blunder by WhatsApp to move towards a model that is less private than before.
A national dialogue?
15 Jan 2021

A national dialogue?

Fundamental reforms are needed to change the ‘system of spoils’, not save it.

Editorial

16 Jan 2021

Gas liberalisation

AFTER drawing much criticism from both consumers and the opposition over its mismanagement of the energy sector that...
16 Jan 2021

Osama Satti inquiry

THE findings of the judicial inquiry into the Jan 2 killing of 21-year-old Osama Satti in Islamabad merely confirms...
Updated 16 Jan 2021

British MP on IHK

DESPITE sustained efforts by New Delhi’s rulers to remove India-held Kashmir from the global discourse, people of...
Updated 15 Jan 2021

Trump’s impeachment

The impeachment move may well remain symbolic in nature; even then, the symbolism itself is a potent one.
15 Jan 2021

Economic growth

MOODY’S Investors Service expects Pakistan’s economy to grow by a modest 1.5pc in FY2021, much higher than the...
15 Jan 2021

Madressah students

GETTING students of madressahs involved in politics is a bad idea, primarily because seminarians should be...