Is your child’s backpack too heavy?

Published: April 10, 2013
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The procedure of procuring school items and the burden on innocent children is something that needs to be looked in to urgently. PHOTO: AFP

Recently, my eldest son joined school at the nursery level for formal education. I was surprised at the list of things to collect: books, copies, pencils, sharpeners, lunch box, water bottle, bag, uniform, shoes, socks and other uniform-related articles for him.

For me, it was a long process to find the required paraphernalia to enable him for this first phase in his life.

I noticed two issues while going through the admission process and collection of required items for my child. I have to pick and drop my son from school daily. In doing so, I found that the weight of my son’s bag, and the weight of the bag of other children present at school, was heavier than their own weight. Most of the children were bending over backwards, under the weight of the load on their backs. It shocked me and made me wonder: “Is this not corporal punishment?”

No authority is taking notice of this cruel act as the children could potentially suffer from back or health related problems in the future.

They are not strong enough to bare this pressure on their backs on a daily basis. On average, a child has to go through about 12 books and copies per day- please note that these children are only two and a half to three years old!

The second thing I noticed was that all school chains have designated book and uniform shops. The publishers have fixed high prices for the books suggested in the booklist. As a customer, I do not have the liberty to purchase these books from the ordinary market, except to go to the designated bookstore. This too, has to be done repeatedly certain times, since not all the books are made available in one visit alone.

Is this not against consumer rights?

The idea of children being admitted into play groups may have been devised to give parents some relief, and while this may be true, it seems to be an injustice upon the child and the finances of the parents.

On the upside though, teachers do give homework which fosters learning and I feel that both my wife and I are back in school, learning.

That said, the procedure of procuring school items and the burden on innocent children is something that needs to be looked in to urgently.

Read more by Anwer here.

Anwer Sumra

Anwer Sumra

A reporter for The Express Tribune in Islamabad.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.