Open letter to the Ministry of Education
Fri Oct 25, 2013
Fortunately for us, I am a motorist, so he does not have to stand up awaiting public commute and make the long walk from the bus terminal all the way to school like hundreds of our children, while carrying twenty pounds. But he does have to make it to my office during lunch and at the end of the day. But how many of us have this “luxuryâ? How many can afford vehicles, or are fortunate enough to work within walking distance of our childrenâs school?
According to an article sited on Livestrong.com, the resulting effects of our children toting these weights around five days a week for months on end are:
- Spine compression
- Â Shoulder and neck injury
- Â Muscle strain
- Chronic back and neck pain
Statistics show that half of all children will suffer back pain by the tender age of 14, and many will go on to develop back related health problems in their adult lives. Why should our children have their health compromised and face irreversible back deformities for the sake of education? Learning should be fun, not painful.
My Failed Strategies:
1. The rolling bag on wheels created a hazard going up and down staircases and so does pulling it on uneven terrain.
2. I kept the books for the afternoon session until he got to my office at lunch, at which point I take the morning session books so his afternoon load is lighter, yet still significantly more than what he should safely carry. This does not help the load for the morning session, being that morning has up to five periods, whereas afternoons has three.
3. Co-ordinating my daily 15 minute break at work with the dismissal of school, that I may carry the load that he may have relief.
1. The Ministry needs to rethink a lot of things as it relates to the booklist, size and weight of the books, even liaising with the publishers to cohesively reduce the weight of the books.
2. It is probably impractical to introduce a locker system, due to the lack of space; so what about desks with storage which can be locked and secured.
3. Teachers can co-ordinate homework so that all homework does not become due on the same day.
4. Implement strategies to reduce the number of books per day with effective time tabling and more double periods; also one notebook could be split for more than one subject.
I know I have spoken on behalf of hundreds of parents and students alike and trust that I have reached the eyes of the relevant authorities and something can be done to effectively alter this grave situation for our children. The education revolution boasts “No Child Left Behind,â not “Every Child With A Crooked Spine.â
Lisa James, Parent
Editorâs Suggestion: What about eliminating hard copy text books altogether by providing each child with a tablet/laptop with all the texts installed as e-books?