Back to school? More like “bad back” to school…
Several years back, when I was working as a teacher, I used to often have morning gate duty. It was a sheer joy to see the radiant and cheerful faces of the primary students early in the morning. But soon enough, I would see their backs saddled with pretty colourful schoolbags making them bend and walk slowly … and it was heart wrenching!
Numerous studies all over the world suggest that a heavy schoolbag has many negative effects on a child’s posture. Children carrying particularly heavy school bags frequently develop a forward head posture, with the body hinging forward at the hips to balance out and compensate for the heavy weight on their backs, thus causing unnatural posture alignment. The problem has been widely recognized and efforts are underway to eliminate it.
Things have gradually changed for the better over time as far as schoolbags are concerned. Different solutions are being implemented to reduce the schoolbag burden. Many (mostly affluent) schools have started providing cubbies and lockers to students in school premises to lighten their schoolbags. Homework time tables ensured that only a few books go home every day for homework.
In an effort to reduce the schoolbag weight from an average 6-7 kg to 500 grams, the Maharashtra government came up with separate textbooks for different semesters. Similar steps and more have been undertaken by other boards and central government bodies.
Has the problem been solved though? Not to a great extent – if you see the real situation on the ground. Even in schools that provide lockers, students are found carrying miscellaneous textbooks, notebooks, workbooks home for reasons like homework, completing missed work, self-study etc. They also carry charts, models, instruments required for projects, library books and reference books.
You don’t go to school; school comes to you!
Are our children always going to lug around the burden of learning on their backs? Well, the answer is no … at least for children who are fortunate to study in an online school. First off, they don’t have to go to school because the school comes to them! The question of carrying a heavy schoolbag does not arise. Everything required for school classes is right there by their side – at home!
At our school – Go School, which is an online/hybrid school, we have liberated our students by averting a grave danger to their posture and health. Complaints of back, neck and shoulder pain do not afflict our students. This is a blessing for – differently-abled children, children who are averse to go to school because of heavy schoolbag, children who are weak or recovering from an illness etc.
Teachers have heaved a sigh of relief – no more excuses such as, “I did my homework but forgot my book at home”. Students can easily get items required for projects/models without excuses such as, “I forgot to put it in my bag”. There is no scope to lose books and other stationery items. There is no theft of “good” students’ books right before exams. Moreover, online classes use a variety of media like videos, presentations, games and quizzes which considerably reduce the emphasis on textbooks. Fewer or no paper notebooks are needed because technology offers far better alternatives.
Is it not cool that school comes to you/your child? Online school is a gamechanger in the area of school education. Here, we have highlighted only one advantage in this article – that of eliminating the problem of carrying heavy schoolbags. There are many more upsides to online schooling that we promise to share with you over the weeks. Stay tuned.
Written by Ms. Meera Datye, Lead – Academic Counseling