School children and the increasing weight of school bags
SOME school children have a difficult task of fetching/hauling around large backpacks which look almost like suitcases to and from school.
This has become a norm in recent times in which it was long observed that school children are burdened with taking to school large bags which are often not easy to carry around.
It was noted that in an effort to avoid fetching large backpacks on their backs some parents have opted to purchase pulley bags for their children to carry around.
TOO HEAVY A BURDEN
These seem like children are ready for an overseas trip with large bulky pull-around bags which are equipped with wheels in addition to lunch bags which many of them carry in their hands.
Back in time, my school days involved carrying a book in hand with a pencil and off we went to school in the most carefree way without the burden of carrying around large bags.
Recently I observed a very young boy who was about seven years old trying desperately to enter a Route 40 minibus with one of those ‘suitcases’, a task he was not equipped for and had to be assisted by adults in that bus just to get the bag into the vehicle.
Samuel Sinclair, a father of four told the Pepperpot Magazine that he was told by his young children that they have to take all their text and exercise books to school every day.
As such, he had no choice to make purchases of pulley bags and large haversacks for his children to accommodate all their books.
He explained that when the children reach Grades Five and Six, the workload is greater and they have to take more books to school every day.
Sinclair pointed out that it is very difficult for a child to move around and having recognised that, he would usually drop off and pick up his children from school daily. But for parents who are unable to do so, the burden is on that child to haul around large bags.
In addition, he stated that he would have to pick up his children from school and then relieve them of excess books to take home before dropping them off at lessons.
In that case, the children will only have the required books for lessons and will not be burdened with books they do not need.
Sinclair contended that in this day and age with the advent of technology, visual tutorials should be introduced in schools and children would not have the need to carry around large bags.
Several teachers who wished to remain anonymous told this newspaper that the curriculum has been so designed that they cannot alter it but are aware of the struggles of the children carrying heavy bags to school.
Some of these teachers are also parents themselves and cannot do anything to change the fact that the children will have to fetch their books to school.
When contacted on Monday, Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson did not immediately answer questions posed to him on this matter and requested a later call, but those calls went unanswered.
EFFECTS OF CARRYING LARGE BAGS TO SCHOOL
We heard throughout our formative years that lugging around a heavy backpack was terrible for our backs. But now that we’re older, the damage may have already been done.
A 2010 study in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, which studied a small test group of children around the age of 11, found that the constant weight of backpacks was actually causing spinal cords to compress and cause significant back pain. Those test backpacks were, at their heaviest, about 26 pounds.
Dr. Harvinder Sandhu, a spinal surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, says 26 pounds is on the lighter side. “Schoolchildren these days are carrying these huge backpacks with around 40 to 60 pounds of weight,” he said. “Seemingly they think it’s only for a short distance. But when you add it up, the total weight is enormous.”