In view of the adverse effects that heavy school bags can have on growth of children, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued guidelines to its affiliated schools. The guidelines issued in a circular are suggestions for schools, teachers and parents which can reduce the weight of the school bags.

The ideal weight of a school bag, according to experts, is ten per cent of the weight of the child. CBSE has suggested that hard-bound textbooks should be avoided. Textbooks for classes I-VIII, apart from their academic worth, should be light weight, the CBSE circular said.

Schools have been asked to exhort students to abide strictly by the timetable and inform them about the adverse effects of fatigue caused due to heavy bags on their day-to-day performance in class. Schools have been advised to design weekly timetable in such a way that minimum number of textbooks and workbooks are required each day.

The adverse effects, the circular said, can range from fatigue, muscle pain, shoulder pain, back pain and in extreme cases the distortion of spinal chord or shoulder.

Students should be encouraged to repack their bags on daily basis and to avoid carrying unnecessary articles, textbooks and workbooks that are not needed, the circular said.

CBSE has asked schools to encourage teachers to use alternative methods of teaching based on information and computer technology to reduce the dependence on textbooks.