School-going students of Kashmir valley are an overburdened lot. An official study claims that 75% to 85% students carry bags that weigh above the recommended limit, which is 10 % of a student’s bodyweight.The department of Social and Preventive Medicine (SPM) in Srinagar, in its study, observed 2,000 school-going children over four districts of Kashmir in March this year.“The SPM’s community medicine conducted a study about the burden of school bags among 2,000 school-going children and found that 75% to 85% of the school bags weigh above the recommended 10% of the bodyweight of the child,” said Dr. Muhammad Salim Khan, head of the SPM department.The results of the study show that 10 to 25% of the bags weighed more than 20% of the bodyweight. “It’s much higher than the recommended weight of bags and could prove hazardous,” said Dr. Khan.The department of Social and Preventive Medicine is planning to submit a report to the government along with recommendations to reduce the weight of school bags. “We are collecting details of teaching methodology in schools in other cities. We will look also into the means and ways to reduce weight of school bags,” said Dr. Khan.Health issues Dr. Gazanfer Mushtaq, a physiotherapist, warns of long-term health issues due to heavy bags. “The constant additional weight on children’s shoulders impacts their gait, which can look very droopy and humpy. Prolonged exposure to heavy weight can in fact induce orthopaedic issues besides stress,” warns Dr. Mushtaq.According to the State education department, Kashmir zone, there are around 16 lakh students enrolled from Class I to XII, who are exposed to heavy school bags.
State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Government has placed renewed focus on the foster care programme with the objective of encouraging more persons to open their homes to children in State care. State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Government has placed renewed focus on the foster care programme with the objective of encouraging more persons to open their homes to children in State care.He noted that a five-year development plan to advance the system has been instituted.“We want to get more of you who are passionate about our children, who have the space… taking some of our children from our residential care facilities and giving them a home,” he noted.Mr. Green was speaking at the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) 2019 National Foster Care Week Church Service at the Ocho Rios Baptist Church in St. Ann on Sunday (February 10).Up to September 2018, a total of 4,443 children were in the childcare and protection system. Of that number 1,853 were in traditional residential care facilities or in foster care.The State Minister said that CPFSA has identified 70 children who are ready to be placed in foster care.“Our goal is to place more children in families because, as I have said before, the research shows that children do better when they are placed in caring family environments, Mr. Green said.“There are tremendous success stories about children who came from very difficult backgrounds but found loving foster parents… and we have seen how through their love, though the inspiration of hope, these children are now prospering and now able to fulfil their true potential,” he added.National Foster Care Week is being observed from February 10 to 15 under the theme ‘Give love, Inspire Hope, Foster a Child’. Story Highlights “We want to get more of you who are passionate about our children, who have the space… taking some of our children from our residential care facilities and giving them a home,” he noted. He noted that a five-year development plan to advance the system has been instituted.