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Schools not following CBSE norms on reducing weight of bags, use of NCERT books, say parents

The CBSE had issued a circular on August 13, 2018, which was a follow-up to a similar circular issued on April 17, 2007. (Representational)

PARENTS HAVE alleged that schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) are not following norms related to reducing the weight of school bags and the use of NCERT textbooks, only months after the board issued a circular for regulation.

The CBSE had issued a circular on August 13, 2018, which was a follow-up to a similar circular issued on April 17, 2007. In the August circular, the CBSE reiterated that all affiliated schools must reduce the weight of school bags and homework load on children and that this should be scrupulously followed.

However, parents alleged that there was no change on the ground and school bags continued to remain heavy. Anubha Sahai, president, India Wide Parents Association, said, "Not just from Maharashtra, but parents from other states have also complained about the issue and are now fed up. The CBSE must act against these schools."

Sangeeta Soni, whose son is studying in Class 3 in a CBSE-affiliated school, told The Indian Express, "Schools are still prescribing books by private publishers, which are not only thick but also costly. Even three textbooks along with notebooks and water bottle account for over 5 kg. We have spoken to the principal on this, and the weight was managed for a week but things went back to square one. They try implementing the norms, but cannot sustain the effort."

The Central Board of Secondary Education Bill 2012 states that the Board may, on a complaint or otherwise, make an inquiry of the concerned school and revoke affiliation granted to a school on grounds of failing to discharge its duties or obligations expected of it.

The principal of a CBSE-affiliated school said, "The NCERT books are big. We have started giving out a weekly syllabus to primary school students and have also allowed them to unbind textbooks so that they need only bring pages of relevant chapters. We have weighed the school bags a number of times and have found that they carry unnecessary and fancy things sometimes."

The Indian Express reached out to the CBSE spokesperson, but did not receive a comment. Maharashtra has around 928 CBSE-affiliated schools, of which about 60 are in Mumbai.