Research Analyst, with a mandate to cover real estate, but often strays into imaginary castles in the air. Women and finance is another of my interests, being a woman and all. I believe in rebirth and evolution into a higher life form (ala journalist).

Meera Siva

Book keeping

| Updated on July 26, 2013 Published on July 26, 2013

Heavy school bags are the most visible burden we place on our children

A school girl with her school bag drooping down heavily, hesitatingly looked at me seated in the bus. I offered to keep her bag and soon 20 kgs landed on my lap! It made me wonder about the burdens we make our children shoulder, even while we overtly pamper them.

A bag case

Long gone are the days when teaching was oral. Also gone is the era when books and printing were a luxury. Even while digital medium is offering lots of choices to share knowledge, we have piled up books and notes for children to lug everyday.

For example, my son’s CBSE maths book weighs 850 grams. There are three books each for language, plus other subject books. Besides notebooks, there is lab book for not just science, but also languages. Throw in rough note, dictionary, atlas etc. And stationery mind you, is not a pen clipped to the shirt pocket, but a gamut of geometry box, pencil, mechanical pencil, ink pen, gel pen, colour pencils, eraser, sharpener and a box of 12 colour paints in heavy glass bottles.

3 R’s and a W

Somewhere in our pedagogy, we have failed to take stock of what we are doing and why. If we love books so much, why aren’t we opening more libraries? The 3 R’s of education is being crushed under the W of weight lifting. A student behind a 850 gm book is just not visible to the teacher and the system.

However, school bag lifting is only a tip of the iceberg, when we consider all the loads we have quietly transferred to them. The pollution, water problem, corruption, poor governance, debt are all on their young shoulders too. We may pamper them with gifts (in plastic wrappings that do not bio-degrade) and feed them tasty food (of the j..k kind) and be pleased that we have given them a happy childhood.

Heavy heart

And the saddest yet is the pesticide episode where unsuspecting school children died – not from any mistake they made, but what WE served them. It is not one person who had a hand in this, but collectively, we have let down our children by letting pests take over the country and pesticides and chemicals take over our soil, water and air.

The girl asks for the bag, as her bus-stop approaches. I am unable to lift it, so she helps herself to the load and innocently thanks me.

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Published on July 26, 2013
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