More thorough study on heavy schoolbag issue needed

Kasmawati (right) and Nathalia.

Wong Sie Hock

MIRI: A more thorough study involving relevant parties like parents, school authorities and those from the education sector, to name a few, is needed to address the issue of heavy schoolbags that seemed to be plaguing school children especially those in the primary schools.

Some parents when asked by The Borneo Post on the issue said the books brought by their children for the day’s lessons are based on the class timetable.

Wong Sie Hock whose son studies at a primary school here opined that the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) or KBAT system should be reexamined as he considered it as the main factor.

“If this system is difficult and requires high order thinking from the pupils, one subject which requires five to six books are still useless because it should be more practical, not burdening or stressing the young minds because not all children have the same level of IQ.

“The system should be more student-centered, practical and can be easily adapted to by all children. I would suggest four subjects per school day where it will be one subject for two sessions. This being said, the first session will be the learning session while the second session will focus more on practical or homework. Thus there will only be one text book and one exercise or activity book and this alone will give more time for pupils to learn and understand certain subjects at school,” he said yesterday.

Commenting on lockers in school meanwhile, Wong said they can be used for students who have extra activities outside of class to put their personal things or their packed food.

“I would not actually recommend using the lockers to put books because sometimes the children will forget to bring home the books that they need for their reference or homework. Lockers however are a good idea for them to store their valuable stuff if they have to do other activities outside of their class,” he explained.

According to secondary school teacher Kasmawati Bujang, having lockers at school is one of the best solutions for the school kids, provided that the students are taught on how to use the lockers correctly and know their own schedule on which books to bring home for self-study or homework.

Observing her own three children (in Primary 3, Primary 4 and Primary 6), she noticed how heavy their bags are and admitted she has to buy one once in a while because they will eventually get torn as a result of carrying heavy stuff in them.

“My kids will prepare their books every night before school and I help them with it too so I know what’s inside the bag are just books. The books are sorted according to the subject of the next day and it is heavy. My daughter had to bend forward whenever she carried her bag.

“Each subject will require a couple of extra books thus the kids had to bring the books. It is all according to the subject, not that they are putting in stuff that are not required for school. Trolley bag meanwhile are troublesome and I notice some kids using the trolley bag as a toy to play around with,” she said.

“Parents know what is actually happening and sometimes they will help to carry their child’s bag to class because it is heavy. Imagine a Primary 1 or any small-sized kids carrying a heavy school bag, this will affect their backbone in the long run,” she said adding her Form 1 student, Nathalia Natasha Paya Jamu also agreed that her school bags during her primary school days were much heavier than when she is in secondary school.