School bags can now be lighter with only one notebook

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Reducing the weight of bags has been spoken about for decades now with the rules saying that it should be 15% of the weight of children but the orders are not properly implemented.

Reducing the weight of bags has been spoken about for decades now with the rules saying that it should be 15% of the weight of children but the orders are not properly implemented. , Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

Irked by the sight of little children trudging along with heavy bags to school and walking back home looking exhausted, a young educator from Belagavi has come up with an idea to reduce the weight of school bags.

The solution he has come up with is: children can now take just one refillable multi-subject notebook to school.

Praveen SK, who hails from Chikkodi in Belagavi, has been running Destiny, a career coaching class, in Belagavi for over a decade now. He has also been organizing personality development and other classes for younger children pro bono,

As he was struck by the thought of reducing the weight of books, he began studying the issue.

His study included documentation of the weight of various school bags and getting feedback from children, parents and teachers. It showed that some school bags can be as heavy as 20%-30% of the children’s weight.

He experimented with various designs, material and binding methods. After nearly a year, he perfected what he now calls refillable multi-subject notebooks.

Sold under the brand name of Prawin, the notebooks are files with folders. They have rounded pins that hold the pages in place. The files are divided into six sections that the students can keep writing until the pages are exhausted. The used pages can be easily replaced with fresh ones. At the end of the year, the books can be sewn into six notebooks or bound into another similar file.

Managing committee members of Jain Heritage School in Belagavi liked the idea and have placed orders for their students. Students of some classes in the Phoenix Public School have begun using the notebooks. A couple of other schools are considering the idea. Some have sought samples to be given for testing. “I hope the idea catches on,” he said.

Recently, Praveen met Primary and Secondary Education Minister Madhu Bangarappa with a request to reduce the weight of textbooks. He demonstrated to the Minister and some officers that a single textbook can be created by stitching together relevant portions of the syllabus in every quarter. “The response from the government has been encouraging,” he said.

“Reducing the weight of bags has been spoken about for decades now. The Union government appointed the Yash Pal committee for the purpose after writer RK Narayan expressed concern about it in the Rajya Sabha in 1993. NCERT issued some guidelines in 2020. The Karnataka government has issued general orders restricting the weight of bags. But they are not properly implemented,” he said.

Praveen argues that even government guidelines are not sufficient to reduce the weight of bags. “The rules say that the weight of bags should be 15% of the weight of children. I feel that even that is higher. Bags should weigh less than 10% of the weight of the children,” he said.

He has shown that the weight of school bags, including the tiffin bag, can be reduced to less than 10%, if the child carries one textbook and one notebook every day.

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