Heavy school bags have been a major issue among school children and it is one of the cause of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
For many years, parents, rights group and politicians have urged the Education Ministry (KPM) to lessen children’s burden of heavy textbooks.
Finally, it appears that the ministry is answering these calls. According to Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin, the ministry is working on a holistic framework to address the issue of heavy bags in schools.
Commenting on the issue, Radzi said that schools having too many subjects in a day is one of the contributing factor to this problem, as students had to carry many books that are sometimes not used.
“We cannot just instruct schools to reduce their subjects, therefore, we are studying this issue in detail one by one. There are different aspects we need to consider, such as schools not having enough teachers.” he said after launching the Sekolahku Sejahtera concept on Monday (21 February).
He also said the ministry has discussed the matter with the Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) to allow students who take Agama lessons in the evening to wear their school uniform. This will then allow students reduce the amount of items they carry in their bag.
Meanwhile, former education minister Dr Maszlee Malik has also chipped in his idea to overcome the issue via a video on Facebook. He said that back in 2018, the ministry released a circular on the issue urging schools and teachers to prepare a more flexible timetable to reduce the weight of schoolbags.
“In 2019, the issue seemed to fade, then Covid-19 happened and now that students are returning back to school, the issue has propped up again,” he explained.
“Now we should refer back to the circular but update it and give autonomy to the schools. Maybe they’d decide not to have textbooks at school, or maybe you can leave them at school.”
On the other hand, he also suggested that schools should embrace digital education but this will require the cooperation of the relevant ministry to ensure that there is a stable internet connection at every school.
Nonetheless, Malaysians have offered several potential solutions to this issue which include providing lockers at primary and secondary schools for students to keep they books, or splitting textbooks by chapters into smaller books.
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