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Heavy school bags damage spinal cord of children

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By: Abdullah Qureshi

Primary school students are generally required to carry all of their books to school every day. Carrying a heavy bag can cause neck, shoulder and back pain Those are short term effects. As for the long term effects it can cause (scoliosis) the abnormal curve of the spine. Which cause permanent back pain. Medical experts agree that our children’s still developing spines can only safely endure 10-15% of their body weight. Children’s back bone is not strong enough to carry this much weight daily.


“These kids are hunched over and are afraid to stand up straight because they might fall over.”




Children’s School Bag Act 2006 in (India):

A major concern has been expressed in India by parent’s chairman of Assocham’s health committee B K Rao said. As per the Children’s School Bag Act 2006, a schoolbag should not weigh more than 10 per cent of a child’s weight. The law also stipulates that nursery and kindergarten students should carry no schoolbag and the school authorities should issue guidelines on bags. It also suggests that the state government provide appropriate lockers in schools till class 8th, which shall be big enough to keep their books, notebooks, and sports equipment. Up to Class 5th, teachers had to inform the students in advance about the books and notebooks they need to bring to class on a particular day. The Children Bag Act is now a part of the central Right to Education (RTE) Act since 2009. Any school violating the provisions of this Act and the rules made there under shall be liable for fine. Provided that the appropriate Government may, if the school is recognized, derecognize the school in case of second or subsequent violation.

Educational Reforms in China:

On January 7, 2000, the Ministry of Education convened a teleconference on how to reduce the burden of primary and middle school students. Minister Chen Zhili pointed out that the large number of books, courses, exams and contests, as well as the large amount of homework, contribute to the heavy burden of primary and middle school students in China. The Ministry of Education issued an Emergent Notice on Reducing the Heavy Burden of Students in Primary Schools. Related regulations were also made concerning middle school education. Special supervisory and reporting mechanisms have been established, responsible for seriously dealing with matters that violate these regulations.

Srilanka introduce heavy school bag Act in 2011:

Behavioral changes among children are to be brought by including a chapter in the Grade 8 science textbook on school bags and ergonomic behavior while a secondary study has been conducted on the strategies for bag-weight reduction by the Ministry of Education under the guidance of Commissioner-General of Education Publications W.M.N.J.

Ireland on Heavy school bags:

This issues were seriously examined in Ireland when a Department of Education expert group produced guidelines for schools. The Department responded by sending out a circular letter to both primary and secondary schools advising them of the report’s recommendations and saying that it was “incumbent on school authorities from a health and safety viewpoint to identify the problem where it exists and take whatever steps are appropriate to deal with it”.


What in other countries?

The proposed legislation in New Jersey would set an upper limit on the weight of text books carried; The proposal in New Jersey is being put forward by Peter Barnes. while the Californian proposals would require school authorities to impose weight reductions. In the United Kingdom, an increase has been put down to a more intensive approach to the curriculum and more homework for younger children. Luke Xavier Linton Simpkins  Australian politician member of Liberal Party of Australia. urges Australia’s education ministers to tackle the problem. Simpkins claimed children were at risk of irreversible health conditions because they were carrying such heavy loads, pointing to increasing reports of spinal abnormalities and scoliosis in Britain and Ireland. Schoolchildren are at risk of developing back problems because of burdensome backpacks

Despite the many effects to reduce the weight of heavy school bags in other countries. There is no law set by ministry of education or the human development authorities on this issue in Pakistan.


     Dr. Naveed Ali Sher

Services Hospital Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Naveed Ali Sher said: “Backbone is very important part of human body. If we are talking about the children who are school going and are compulsive to carry heavy bags on their backs, that is really very alarming point. Regarding to children they must carry the tolerable weight on their backs because a kid’s back bone is not too stronger as the elder one. Heavy weights effect the both neck and the back because they are inter connected with the spinal cord which goes down from head to down. Excessive and uneven loads are linked to an increased risk of back-trouble and deformation of the spine. Stress from such excess weights may affect the growth of the musculoskeletal system.When you add an extremely heavy backpack, five days a week for over a decade, we’re basically crushing those water-filled gaps, compressing the spine with all the extra weight. A backpack accelerates the rate at which we lose water in the lumbar disks, causing us to shrink a little bit more quickly. If we haven’t proper died and do care in the growing years of the kid it remains weak and the kid is unable to carry heavy weight on his back in future and as well as in old age. It’s very necessary to keep and make the bones strong in early age. we can tackle this problem by the advancement of our education system. But this all will only be happen but the co-operation of parents and teachers both.


     Mian Mahmood Rashid

Leader of Opposition in Punjab and PTI President Mian Mahmood Rashid says: “Firstly, we have to modify our educational system and include new methods of learning followed by developed countries. Actually it’s our bad luck because educational authorities are least concern with it. Our educational structure is still follow old custom’s or traditions. Children’s carry heavy school bags which are heavier than their actual weight. Even countries like India or Iran follow the new techniques of education. Technology should be used reduce the number of books children carry in their bags. InshAllah We will rise the voice in Punjab assembly and I sure you that we make effort for the betterment of education sector in Pakistan.”


Barrister Amir Hassan

PPP leader Barrister Amir Hassan said, “I think our schools are Deprived with the basic facilities like clean water or shelter etc. same like the Heavy school bags is a big issue and we must rise voice against heavy school bags. We have to clean the school syllabus from junk information. Unfortunately we put every information into the syllabus books. Important information is necessary for students but give it in classroom by the teachers only. Because to carry heavy school bags children’s start complaining about back pains at such a young age. This issue will be rise publically and Department of Education must show some seriousness on this issue.”

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