A recent survey of 4569 students in Mumbai found :
* 31 % of those surveyed, carried schoolbags weighing more than the prescribed limit ( not more than 10% of child's own weight )
This issue has so much agitated everyone that even the Mumbai High Court keeps asking the Government :
" What are you doing about this ? How and when , do you expect to solve this problem ? "
A news report in Times of India ( 02 April , 2016 ) quotes Shri B B Chavan , Deputy Director of Education , as follows :
" Schools can't do much if parents continue to send fancy bags, heavy tiffin boxes and water bottles and tuition books "
Sure , parents can help reduce their child's burden
But , so can progressive / forward thinking / innovative schools !
Immediate answer that comes to mind is : Use of Internet
I believe , HRD Ministry has launched a project under which , all text books will get uploaded on its web site , which any student can access freely , at any time , on his / her tablet
Simultaneously , in the last 2 / 3 years , dozens of portals have come up , which provide educational content of all kinds ( text books / quizzes / test papers / assessments etc ) , online , for a reasonable annual subscription
But the problem is :
* Very few schools have a Wi-Fi hot spot
I suppose , it will take a few years before all schools get internet connection
Interim solution :
* Schools to make available to students ( of each standard ) , tablets
having on-board storage memory of 64 GB ( no need for internet ! )
* Each tablet to be pre-loaded with scanned copies of text books
* Icons on home page to show the " Subject Name " of text book
* Tablets to be distributed at the beginning of each academic session
* Students to be allowed to carry the tablets home and use for homework
* Students to return the tablets at the end of each session
* Tablets can be given to the next batch of students for reuse
* Students should have option to " pay and buy " the tablet , in which case
School Administration will load it with required text books, free of charge
Alternatively, students can buy their choice of tablet from market
* It will be the responsibility of school management to ensure that the
all tablets are always pre-loaded with the " Prescribed " text books
When schools are charging annual school-fees of Rs 30,000 / - to Rs 100,000 /- , surely they can afford to invest in tablets costing Rs 10,000/- !
Of course , poor children , attending Municipal Schools will benefit most since they cannot afford to buy own tablets or pay high fees
And since there is no internet access from these tablets , school managements do not have to worry about students accessing " In-appropriate Content " and waste their time on Facebook / Youtube etc !
I am sure, some schools here and many schools abroad , have already implemented this idea , which must have occurred to millions, earlier !
www.hemenparekh.in / blogs
04 April 2016