The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) cabinet, earlier this month, had unanimously approved the KP School Bags Act 2019 which limits the weight of the school bags of the students.
Over time, numerous studies have also demonstrated that students who carry school bags more than 15% of their body weight suffer from chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain.
While lauding the promulgation of the School Bags Act 2019, Dr. Mohsin Hayat Safi, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, revealed that he has seen a large of students suffering from pain in the spine and shoulders due to excessively heavy bags.
He expressed hope that the KP government will enforce the law all across the province and students suffering from long-standing neck, back, and shoulder pain will recover completely.
In November 2019, Education Department KP had submitted the School Bags Act in the provincial cabinet secretariat after Justice Qaiser Rasheed of Peshawar High Court suggested a reduction in the weight of schoolbags.
Under the law, KP’s Education Department is authorized to revoke the registration of educational institutes that do not comply with the law. The provincial government will also set up an independent monitoring cell to ensure compliance with the law.
In case of violation, a fine of Rs. 200,000 will be imposed on the school administration.
Section 7 of the School Bags Act states:
In the case of violation, principals and other faculty of the schools will be taken to task. If schools disarm the law, they will be fined Rs. 200,000 each.
According to Section 4(1) of the School Bags Act, schools will be required to ensure the availability of lockers and cupboards where students can store books and additional belongings.
Schools are bound to provide lockers and cupboards for students up to 12th grade. This will help give space to students inside centers of learning where they can keep their books and other extra-curricular belongings.
KP School Bags Act has recommended making textbooks and notebooks from lighter materials in the future. It has also called on the educational institutions to frequently organize awareness campaigns regarding the consequences of excessively heavy school bags.