Bhubaneswar: A five-member squad of the Khurda district administration today conducted a surprise visit to a private school here to inspect compliance and implementation of Ministry of Human Resource Development’s (MHRD) guidelines on reduction of weight of school bags.
The five-member team led by Amita Patnaik, District Project Co-ordinator (DPC), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) visited Mother’s Public School at Unit-1 here.
The team on random basis checked the weight of school bags of students ranging from class-I to class-X.
It advised both students and teachers to comply with the MHRD’s cap on weight of school bags.
“Today is the second day; we are visiting leading private schools in Bhubaneswar. We have noticed slight deviation from the prescribed limits,” revealed Amita Patnaik, DPC, SSA, leader of the squad while speaking to newsmen.
Patnaik said that since children are carrying water bottles, pencil boxes etc.which adds up to the weight so more awareness is needed at the parents’ level.
“We have interacted with the children and have sensitized them. We have also told the school’s principal to further sensitize the students and their parents as well,”she added.
On being asked what action would taken against the school authorities Patnaik said:”Initially, we will get warning letters issued to them through the Collector. In the second phase we will go for another round of inspection and we hope they will maintain the prescribed limit otherwise we will take action.”
“As per the Collector’s order we have been included in the squad. We have found deviations in all schools. In some cases it was from the school side and in some it was from the other side i.e. from the parents or the students,” said Mohan Patnaik, Chairman Parent’s Association, a member of the squad.
“We are sensitive to the issue.In the curriculam for lower classes we have divided the books into two sets. One set upto half yearly exams and the other set for the second term. So students are not required to carry the books of the other term and vice versa. We have told parents that bags have to be light weight,” said Polly Patnaik, Principal Mother’s Public School.
According to MHRD guidelines issued last year, the maximum weight of the school bag for the students of Classes I and II should not exceed 1.5 kg while the weight of the bags of students from Classes III to V should not be more than 3 kg.
Similarly, the school bag weight of Classes VI and VII should not be more than 4 kg, for Classes VIII and IX should be 4.5 kg and for Class X, it should not exceed 5 kg.
In adherence to the directive of the Orissa High Court, Khurda Collector has formed three district-level squads to monitor implementation of MHRD guidelines in all government, government-aided and private schools in Khurda district.
A notification in this regard was issued by the District Education Officer (DEO) to all Block Education Officers (BEOs), President of Bhubaneswar Abhibhabaka Mahasangha, all the principals and headmasters of the schools in Khurda district on Tuesday.