The government of Manipur has gone ahead and declared all working Saturdays as ‘No School Bag Days’ for all the schools in the state. The government has issued a memorandum that states that on the ‘No School Bag Days’ children will not be required to carry school bags and their schools would ensure that a great variety of extra-curricular activities, games and sports, recreational activities among others takes place.
The government asserts that such a step would encourage children to take a break from the burden of studies and convert the school into a place that children would cherish.
The government expressed its concerns over the fact that children across schools in the state were highly engrossed with highly pressurising academic work all through the year. Moreover, the burden of assignments and homework accompanied by a high degree of performance pressure left children with hardly anytime to play or engage in activities such as games.
The memorandum asking all schools in the state to dedicate every working Saturday to a plethora of activities other than studies is believed to become an extremely important step to ensure that children get a chance for holistic development of personality.
The Education Department said that it would review the practice and make sure that it supports the children in a way that they can be rescued from intense academic pressure and begin leading a relaxed and holistic life.
The department said that it will lay focus on allowing children the opportunity to develop holistically and makings school a more enjoyable place to spend time in. Parents and children in Manipur seem to be welcoming the step taken by the government and say that it comes as a relief because children have to carry extensively heavy bags throughout the week.
It is hoped that with this new move, the Manipur government is able to reduce the academic burden of children and to encourage participation in a plethora of other activities that are crucial for allowing the holistic development of children. However the only concern that must be brought into light here is that, any substantial change in the way school education has burdened children and put enormous academic pressure on them will entail not just exemption from the usage of heavy schools bags for one day in a week but sustained structural change in the assessment and examination patterns, reduction of academic and curricular pressure, rethinking emphasis on rote learning and memorisation and above all steps towards converting the school into a learning community that encourages a child’s individuality. These steps when followed over a substantial time period will ensure that the school becomes a much cherished site for its children.