Sunday, 3 April 2016

Burden of School Bags

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 !

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- / blogs

04  April  2016

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