The Star Malaysia

Weighty load for schoolchil­dren


PRI­MARY schoolchil­dren lug­ging heavy school bags has been an is­sue for years, but lit­tle has been done to solve the prob­lem.

Do par­ents and teach­ers ever look at the size and weight of bags that pri­mary schoolchil­dren carry to schools th­ese days?

The school bags are un­be­liev­ably heavy and how th­ese chil­dren are lug­ging them to school, is a won­der.

Some school bags weigh a few ki­los and would not even be al­lowed in as hand lug­gageby some air­lines.

What’s even more sur­pris­ing is that the weight of the bag can some­times be al­most as heavy as the child who is car­ry­ing it.

Lug­ging themto and from school can have a detri­men­tal ef­fect, es­pe­cially on pri­mary schoolchil­dren.

A study done a few years ago found that schoolchil­dren car­ry­ing heavy school bags were sus­cep­ti­ble to sco­l­io­sis – a med­i­cal con­di­tion of ab­nor­mal hard­en­ing of body tis­sue re­sult­ing in dam­age to the spinal cord.

The back­bone can be de­formed due to con­stant pres­sure on the back and in lat­ter years, the child may be­come a hunch­back or have ir­re­versible back ache.

Th­ese are young chil­dren be­tween seven and 12 years who are still grow­ing and de­vel­op­ing phys­i­cally.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry has di­rected pri­mary schools to have a few sub­jects daily on the timetable so as not to bur­den the chil­dren to carry the text­books.

More im­por­tantly, schools must re­struc­ture timeta­bles on ded­i­cated sub­ject days.

Do­ing so, will take a great load off the pupils.

There are about 10 school sub­jects in the pri­mary school cur­ricu­lum.

Each sub­ject comes with a text­book, a few work­books and ex­er­cise books.

The text­books can some­times be thick and heavy.

Apart from the school sta­tionery, the child also car­ries a wa­ter bot­tle, packed food and ex­tra clothes in the school bag.

Par­ents should help their chil­dren es­pe­cially those in the early pri­mary school classes, to pack their school bags based on the timetable.

The school should not have more than three to four sub­jects daily.

And schools should fol­low the timetable strictly.

The other al­ter­na­tive would be for the schools to pro­vide lock­ers or cup­boards in the class­room where the chil­dren can store or keep the books in school.

The only draw­back to this op­tion is that chil­dren would not be able to re­vise or do their home­work if they leave the text­books in school.

As we are move into the 21st cen­tury learn­ing, the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of school text books is in­evitable, and im­ple­mented in stages.

More chil­dren will have ac­cess to dig­i­tal text­books and that will hope­fully take a load off their backs.

 ??  ?? Car­ry­ing heavy bags on their backs over a pe­riod of time can dam­age chil­dren’s pos­ture and their spinal cord. – File photo
Car­ry­ing heavy bags on their backs over a pe­riod of time can dam­age chil­dren’s pos­ture and their spinal cord. – File photo

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