Thursday, September 10, 2009

School bag tales

He weighs 18 kilograms, but with his school bag, my almost six year old tips the scales at 21 kilograms. Despite being a weights junkie, I find the bag heavy- I don’t even want to know what word my son uses to describe it.

Mathematics workbook, Hindi workbook. English reader, Hindi reader. Class work book, home work book. Social studies text book, diary. One wonders if a kid in Grade one really needs to lug so many books to school everyday?

Even if you take the books out, the bag is heavy. Lunchbox, water bottle, pencil box, raincoat, the bag itself.

Is enough being done to reduce the burden our kids are being forced to shoulder? Or is it a nefarious plot to ensure that India is in with a chance to win the weightlifting gold at the Olympics?

And is this phenomenon restricted only to India? Maybe kids elsewhere have schools bags made of a lightweight titanium alloy?
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13 comments:

Marjorie said...

From what I've heard this is what a lot of American children have to deal with as well. I'll be able to tell for certain soon. My girls are finally off to public school. I just couldn't shoulder all the burden anymore. I'll keep Gabe for at least another year though.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@Marjorie - Homeschooling three kids, and minding two more is a task only a Superwoman will take on.

ladyfi said...

Some days my kids have to cart gym clothes, swimming towels, musical instruments and books to school. At other times, just the bag (heavy enough by itself), fruit and some extra clothes...

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@LadyFi - you are making me feel a lot better. And yes, how did I forget his karate uniform on Wednesdays, and the keyboards on Mondays.

ladyfi said...

Just popping back to say thanks for all your comments. You don't have to agree with me - I love reading about people's different opinions, even if we disagree...

siderealview said...

Natasha - when I saw it on your profile I almost wrote: brilliant topic for a blog - & then realized it WAS. You are amazing: two under six, running, writing & also donating to the cause of wolves. Bless you.
Loved the avoirdupois stats - makes for mind-boggling reading. Poor mite - hope he unwinds big time in the puddles when he gets home
x Marian

Watery Tart said...

My kids' backpacks are definitely this heavy, and the daughter has swim stuff and the son his trombone on top of it. I think in first grade it was a little better, but not a lot.

Girls, in addition to all the school stuff they need, also carry about 7 pounds of items to stay attractive (brushes, make up, jewelry changes--don't ask), oddball amusements, and of course the cell phone and iPod...

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Hi, Kiddo, is this a pun? You wrote.."Is enough being done to reduce the burden our kids are being forced to shoulder?" Shoulder??? Very clever.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

dipali said...

It's distressing. Our time we had these little suitcase-like schoolbags which were heavy too, and we'd get callouses on our hands from carrying them:(
Now it's the poor kids' shoulders.
Much needs to change in our education system, including the bags! Maybe the school has enough text books in each subject for the kids to use in class. Unlikely though:(

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ dipali - I remember those suitcase like things too (they were made of metal, weren't they?).These backpacks are definitely an improvement - if nothing else, the load is distributed.

@ Galen - you got it!!

@ Tami - it does make me feel better to hear that burdening kids is not restricted only to India. And seven pounds of stuff to stay attractive? My youth was definitely misspent, as is my dotage!

@ Marian - you are being too generous in your praise. There is so much more that one can do. I don't write as much as the rest of you do, and I would like to :-(

@Fiona - I am glad you don't mind that I disagree. I rarely make friends with people with whom I am not able to agree to disagree.

dipali said...

Ours were some strange composite of cardboard and some kind of rexine!

Mystica said...

In Sri Lanka it is as heavy and studies show that it affects children's spice as well as their posture. The alternative I have seen is a bag like a travel bag and being pulled along.

However this does not work on uneven surfaces like road pavements.

Mystica

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Mystica - welcome. And perhaps the bags that can be pulled along are a better alternative to trying to reduce the number of books as the authorities are trying to do in India.

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