In Nepal, we wonder about the weight of school bags

Aug 7, 2019

nepal_carrying_weight_young_girls-minBuddi Shrestha, program director in Nepal, was interested in the weight of school bags carried by children in his country. This is mainly due to the books that continue to be transported between school and home. However, various studies have shown that very heavy school bags can have a negative impact on students, whether physical, psychological or economic.

The excessive weight of the bags can bend the spine, generate muscular tension, chronic pain in the back, shoulders and neck, etc., but also be a stress trigger for some young students. Indeed, in addition to ensuring the completion of their homework and preparing for their exams, children must take care of their material or risk being punished if they forget.

In the minds of many parents, the model student wears a uniform and greets his or her parents in English with a bag on his or her back. The economic world has seized on this image and the educational system seems to be guided by the market and its interests, encouraging parents to buy more books for their children. If no study has been done in Nepal on this subject, three American medical associations have already expressed their point of view on the issue: a school bag should not exceed 15% of the child's total weight.

It is still difficult for a child not to have a school bag, but there are solutions to lighten it: install drinking water points in schools to prevent children from bringing bottles; carry only the books that will be used during the day; encourage parents to give priority to the quality of the bags and not to the aesthetic aspect.

>> Read Buddi Shrestha's full op-ed in English on the Nepalese website MyRepublica

July 2019

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