India issues weight guidelines for children's school bags

Concerned about producing a generation of hunchbacked children with spine problems, India has denounced schools for making students carry heavy school bags and giving young children homework.

The government has issued weight guidelines for school bags depending on a child's age, citing studies that show how the load can affect soft, developing spines.

One survey done by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India found that 68 per cent of pre-teen children might suffer from mild back pain, which can develop into chronic back pain and later into a hunchback.


The study, which covered more than 2,500 children and 1,000 parents in major cities, found that more than 88 per cent of children from seven to 13 carry more than 45 per cent of their body weight on their backs.

The state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, mandates that the weight of the bag should not exceed 10 per cent of the child's body weight.

Many schools there have started using white boards and projectors to ensure textbooks are not required to be carried to school.

The federal circular also suggests that no homework be assigned to pupils in Grades 1 and 2, which will also ensure they do not need to carry books home. - REUTERS