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April 15, 2019

Books and burdens

Newspost

 
April 15, 2019

The image of young children lugging heavy school bags is a common one across Pakistan. From elite private schools to government schools, nearly all educational institutions in this country seem to insist that youngsters carry heavy burdens. However, as medical specialists have pointed out, heavy school bags are taking a major toll on children’s health. The deputy medical superintendent at Karachi’s Abbasi Shaheed Hospital recently wrote a letter to school principals stating that weighty bags can cause neck, back and shoulder pain in children.

Indeed, in this day and age, when nearly everything has ‘gone digital’ there needs to be out-of-the-box solutions to lessen children’s load. Many elite private schools already send homework through email and apps, yet still make children carry a heavy load of books on their backs. Perhaps more digital solutions and a sensible schedule for carrying only required books can address the problem. Lockers may also be helpful. Public schools – lacking the advanced technologies of their more well-resourced private counterparts – must also be helped by the state to introduce classroom technologies that can reduce the load in children’s backpacks, and prevent the need to carry heavy textbooks. Learning should be an exercise that engages students; youngsters should not have to dread the prospect of carrying heavy bags to school every day.

Shairoz Arif

Karachi

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