School authorities summoned over heavy backpacks of students
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday summoned the head of the KPK Private Schools Authority.
The secretary Secondary and Elementary Education were also called to voice their concern over heavy handbags carried by students in KPK school system.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid and Qalandar Ali Khan has issued the order during case proceeding into the matter.
Who has filed the case?
The case was filed by a lawyer, Moammar Jalal, seeking court directions to reduce the weight of school bags as it strained the backs of school students.
Accordingly, the lawyer asked the court to order the government to formulate legislation to this end.
In this petition, Jalal said that deputy medical superintendent of Abbasi Shaheed hospital Karachi had written a letter to school principals that those weighty bags can cause neck, back and shoulder pain for students.
Heavy school bags are deforming children as growing numbers suffer irreversible back problems.
If children are getting back pain so young then there is the potential they will have it for the next 70 to 80 years, which leads to an enormous physical and emotional cost.
Half of all children suffer back pain by the age of 14 and doctors are reporting a rise in cases of spinal abnormalities.
The lawyer asked the court to issue directives to authorities to ensure that the weight of the bag should not be more than 10% of the child’s weight.
He also contended that it is unrealistic to expect kindergarten students, as well as, first and second graders to carry such huge bags.
Jalal added that other countries have formulated laws in this regard. However, no legislation has been passed so far in Pakistan.
Formation of a committee
Directions have been issued to form a committee. The committee will propose measures on how the weight can be reduced.
According to a statement issued by the education department, the committee would comprise of the E&SED special secretary, Provincial Institute for Teacher Education director and the director general of the health department.
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Overloaded school bags that are up to double the size of those carried ten years ago are contributing to the surge, it is feared.
Improper use of backpacks may injure muscles and joints and can lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain.
Health experts say children risk long-term and ultimately permanent damage if they regularly carry more than 15% of their body weight over their shoulders. A school bag should always be light and apt!