New Delhi: Children upto Class 2 should not be given any homework as they are too young to sit for long hours and they should carry a bag weighing not more than 2 kg, according to the new School Bag Policy 2020 released by the Ministry of Education.
The document of the policy, a copy of which has been accessed by ThePrint, is in line with the new National Education Policy (NEP) released in July. It gives guidelines on homework and weight of school bags for classes 1 to 12.
It was shared with all state governments on 24 November along with a circular asking for its implementation.
“It is requested to kindly adopt relevant suggestions of the School Bag Policy and NEP 2020 and ensure the implementation in your jurisdiction. The compliance report in this regard may be shared with this department (the ministry),” read the circular.
School heads need to ensure fair distribution of textbook weight
The policy has been based on various surveys and studies conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, said the policy document.
It gave a suggestive class-wise range for the ratio of school bag as 10 per cent of the body weight. For example, the weight of a Class 1 and 2 student’s bag should be 1.6 to 2.2 kg as the average body weight of a child in that age is 16-22 kg.
Similarly, Class 11 and 12 students can carry a 3.5 to 5 kg bag as the average weight of children in that age is around 35 to 50 kg.
“In the beginning of the academic session, once the subject time table for a class is finalised, the Head of School needs to ensure a fair distribution of textbook weight per day for students of classes 1 to 12,” the policy document stated.
2 hours of homework a day for classes 9 to 12
The policy also talked in detail about homework for students at various levels, starting with no homework for children upto Class 2, and two hours of homework every day for children in classes 9 to 12.
“As children in classes 1 and 2 are too small to sit for long hours doing homework, they need not be given any kind of homework. Rather they need to be encouraged in the class to speak about how they spent their evening at home, games they played, foods they eat, etc.,” the document suggested.
Children in classes 3, 4 and 5 should be given a maximum of two hours of homework per week. It suggested that the teacher should ask the “evening routine for every child, dinner they took the previous night — food items, ingredients, their likes and dislikes about different kinds of foods, who does what at their homes” in the form of homework.
For classes 6 to 8, homework should be maximum of one hour a day.
“At this stage, children develop the habit of sitting little longer with concentration, so they can be given home works such as writing a story, essay or article on contemporary issues; writing an article about the problems in the locality; measures for saving electricity and petrol, among other things,” the document suggested.
The document also recommended that for junior classes, teachers should create “interesting homework” keeping in mind the interests of individual students.
For Secondary and Higher Secondary stages, a maximum of two hours of homework a day is recommended.
“This time can be utilised by the students on project work. Interdisciplinary project work may be planned by the teachers to be given to students calculating the time taken,” stated the document.
“There is also a need to keep track of time and type of homework given to the children and also their mapping with the concepts given in syllabi and textbooks of different subject areas, especially from class 6 onwards,” it added.
The circular has also asked schools to engage children in vocational activities such as pottery, gardening, among others.