The novel step taken by the education department of Manipur aims to make schools a more joyful place of learning

Imphal: Sensing a need to teach life skills early in life, the Manipur government on Wednesday announced to introduce ‘No School Bag Days’ on all working Saturdays. In place of books, the students of government, government-aided and unaided or private schools studying from Classes I to VIII will get lessons on life skills, extra co-curricular activities, games and sports and recreational activities, among others.

According to a circular, the novel step taken by the education department aims to make schools a more joyful place of learning.

Taking note of excessive academic performances demanding by schools which automatically cause mental effects, the step will reduce the unbounded stress created among the students; on the other hand, it will make schools a more conducive and joyful place, it said.

Meanwhile, considering the unreasonably heavy school bags carried by students studying from Classes I to VIII which cause long-term physical and undue mental stress, the state government has decided to review the policy.

Studies have found that carrying excessive loads or heavy school bags can cause musculoskeletal disorders in kids. And by reducing the weight of children’s school bags, the students will no longer have to suffer back pain while walking to schools, it said.

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Moreover, an additional home assignment by schools has led these categories of students to be more engaged on routine works related to school curriculum or syllabus, thereby, finding hard to find any quality time for life skill activities including games and sports, extra co-curricular activities, etc, which can help in their holistic personality development and growth.

In November last year, the Union ministry of human resource development (HRD) had asked all states and Union Territories (UTs) to regulate the weight of school bags for children, however, the task remained taunting as many schools in the country continue the traditional trend of letting students carrying excessive loads.

As per the official circular, the weight of school bags for students studying of Class I to II should not exceed 1.5 kg, while those of Classes III to V students should weigh between 2 kg and 3 kg. For Classes VI to VII, the weight of school bags should not exceed 4 kg, whereas the weight of school bags of Classes VIII to IX and Class X are 4.5 kg and 5 kg, respectively.

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