CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed CBSE and the Association of Management of Private Schools to use only NCERT books, not over-load children with books and other study material and assign homework in classes I and II.
“The children are neither weightlifters nor schoolbags are loaded containers. Joy, happiness, enthusiasm, trolling, rolling, kicking, running, fighting, playing with other children are natural qualities of the children. They are moulded as memory chips to store information, due to faulty pattern of educational system and to download them in the exams to prove their memory capacity which is the yardstick to assess and measure the alleged merits of children. Bundle of joy and enthusiasm, emotions, curiosity make the innocence of a child.
The said innocence is being robbed of by ‘ambitious’ parents, ‘taskmaster’ teachers and ‘result-oriented’ school managements by prescribing irrelevant books in the very young age itself. Instead of learning with joy, the children end up rote memorising, with fear and stress, which in no way could help them or the parents. Instead of making creative minds, the system only does destruction of younger minds,” Justice N Kirubakaran said.
The judge was passing orders on a writ petition from M Purushothaman, an advocate, which challenged the CBSE circular dated July 29, 2017 and further direct the Department of School Education and the Literacy, Human Resource Development Ministry, New Delhi and the NCERT, Bengaluru, to require CBSE schools to buy books published by NCERT alone and not books published by private publishers. He contended that excess subjects, not prescribed by NCERT, are prescribed by CBSE schools to kids of classes I to V, homework, which have been prohibited to be given to students of classes I and II, is given. Excess subjects make the schoolbags heavier.
Passing final orders, the judge observed that children are distracted in many ways depriving their regular sleep nowadays. They spend more time on mobile and TV screens, endangering their health. With all these distractions and reduction in sleep time, when young children are forced to do homework, it would cause unwanted stress, anxiety and depression.
The judge also directed the Union government to formulate a policy forthwith on the lines of Children School Bags (Limitation on Weight) Bill, 2006 and to ask the State governments and the Union Territories forthwith to formulate a Children School Bag Policy’ to reduce the weight of bags.