HRD Ministry Limits School Bag Weight and No Homework for Students of Classes I, II.

There is ongoing concern regarding the weight of children’s schoolbags and the negative consequences of such heavy loads on the developing spine. There is particular concern for the junior students in secondary schools, as the spine is at a critical stage of development in children between 12 – 14 years of age. This is also the stage at which the bag weight to body weight ratio is likely to be high as some students are still quite small but carry loads similar to larger and older children.

Musculoskeletal symptoms are believed to be multifactorial, and carriage of heavy schoolbags is a suspected ‘contributory factor’, and therefore represents an ‘overlooked daily physical stress’ for school children. Risk factors for musculoskeletal discomfort associated with schoolbag carriage include the combined effects of heavy loads, load shape and size, time spent carrying the load and position of the load on the body. A number of studies investigated the link between schoolbag use and musculoskeletal pain. Some have reported that carrying a heavy schoolbag contributes to musculoskeletal pain, while others have found differently. Some studies on musculoskeletal discomfort related to school bag carriage identified a significantly higher reporting of pain by girls than boys.

Taking additional bag also contributes a lot to load. The number of additional bags carried by the students varies from day to day. A greater number of boys than girls carried an additional bag and this is perhaps due to a higher level of sports participation by boys. However, no schools was found to suggest that carrying an additional bag resulted in a lighter schoolbag (for example, fewer books might be needed if physical education classes were scheduled).

Considering above facts, The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has issued directives to all states and Union Territories to ensure that students of Classes 1 and 2 are not assigned homework and that the weight of their school bags does not exceed the prescribed limit of 1.5 kg.

Students should not be asked to bring additional books and the weight of the school bag should not exceed 1.5 kg for students of Classes 1 and 2. The weight of the school bag should not exceed 5 kg for students of Class 10, according to the circular.

“The ministry has instructed all states and Union Territories to formulate guidelines to regulate the teaching of subjects and weight of school bags in accordance with Government of India regulations”

Welcome move from central on school students. States must formulate guidelines and coordinate in implementing strict rules to follow the instruction from MHRD.


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