Reducing the Weight of School Bags

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Reducing the Weight of School Bags

The Government have received a number of suggestions to reduce the weight of school bags, including dividing the books into two volumes. Several initiatives have already been taken in this regard and the Ministry is coordinating the efforts being made by different organizations/institutions in this regard. Some of the initiatives taken in this regard are as under:

i.          The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has recommended only two books (Language and Mathematics) for classes I & II and three books for Classes III to V (Language, Environmental Studies and Mathematics). NCERT has also made available all their textbooks for free access through the web ( and mobile devices.

ii.         The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has directed schools affiliated to it to ensure that students do not carry school bags till Class II. In its latest circular dated 12th September, 2016, it has advised all its affiliated schools to take all possible measures to keep the weight of school bag under control.

iii.        Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan has taken a number of steps to promote digital learning in its Vidyalayas. To begin with, all the students of class VIII in 25 Kendriya Vidyalayas (One KV from each region) shall be provided with good quality Tablets on PILOT BASIS. The students will use these Tablets as also their teachers for Mathematics and Science for enhancing their core skills in these subjects.

iv.        Under the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) component of Integrated Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) Programme, a total of 14704 tablets for schools have been approved for administrative/teaching purposes in various States/UTs in 2017-18.

Besides, several State Governments have also taken commendable steps in this direction. For example:
·         Maharashtra has started Digital schools and more than 50,000 schools are being upgraded to digital education. It has compiled quality digital material online through a user-friendly mobile app MITRA.

·         Tamil Nadu which has introduced trimester system in all schools for classes I to VIII to reduce the load of books. This system ensures that the children need to carry only the books needed for the relevant term, which will substantially reduce the book load of children physically and also remove the psychological fear in the young minds.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 specifies that the all-weather school buildings should have safe and adequate drinking water facility to all children. All States and Union Territories (UTs) have been directed to ensure that the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009 regarding drinking water is complied with and that all schools including those under the non-Government sector have the provision for safe and adequate drinking water facility for all children. The State Governments and UT Administrations are supported for creation and augmentation of infrastructural facilities including construction of drinking water facilities in government primary & upper primary schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Scheme. State Governments, UT Administrations and local authorities are free to install Reverse Osmosis (RO) machines in schools based on requirement, to ensure provision of safe and pure drinking water to the children. Various infrastructure facilities including drinking water facilities in existing and new government secondary schools are also provided under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) Scheme. Under the Scheme, drinking water facilities have been approved for 24546 secondary schools till date.

The CBSE has also issued directions to schools affiliated to it to ensure adequate supply of potable and safe drinking water for everybody and counsel students not to bring the heavy water bottle to schools. The students of these schools need not carry extra pair of sportswear throughout the day and are allowed to wear it for the entire day.

Education being a subject in the Concurrent List of the Constitution and the majority of schools are under the jurisdiction of the State Governments, it is for the respective State/Union Territory Government to take appropriate measures to reduce the weight of schools bags of the children studying in their schools.

The Government has not issued any direction or guidelines regarding e-schooling’ in all the Kendriya  Vidyalayas.

This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Shri Upendra Kushwaha today in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.

Teachers’ Performance

The World Bank took up a research project more than thirteen years back, in 2004, on teacher absenteeism in 6 countries, including India and conducted a survey in 3700 schools in 20 States. The report, inter alia, concluded that twenty-five per cent of teachers in Government primary schools remained absent from work on any given day, and only 50% of teachers present in schools were actually engaged in teaching.

The State and UT Governments monitor teachers’ attendance through School Management Committees/School Management Development Committees/Block Resource Centres/Clusters Resource Centres. States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh Gujarat, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh have initiated biometric attendance on pilot basis.

There is no scheme in this Ministry to give performance bonus to teachers and principals. However, there is a scheme of National Award to teachers to recognize good performance of teachers across the country. Further, Section 24 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 mandates that a teacher appointed under sub-section (1) of the Section 23 shall perform the following duties, namely (a) maintain regularity and punctuality in attending school and (b) complete entire curriculum within specified time.

The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed e-content and uploaded on e-Pathshala ( and National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) ( for showcasing and disseminating all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio and video material, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials. The platform addresses the dual challenge of reaching out to a diverse clientele and bridging the digital divide (geographical, socio-cultural and linguistic), offering comparable quality of e-contents and ensuring its free access at every time and every place. Students, teachers, educators and parents can access e-books through multiple technology platforms i.e. mobile phones and tablets and on web through laptops and desktops. NCERT has also designed 8 courses for students of Class XI-XII and uploaded for its free use on SWAYAM ( Further, under Computer Aided Learning (CAL) component of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), States/UTs have been supported financially to promote e-learning of Science and Mathematics at Upper Primary level.

Preventing Junk Food in Schools

The Government of India or The Directorate of Education, Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCT)  Delhi have  not conducted any study/survey in this regard. However, it is observed that consumption of junk food among the school children is changing their eating habits and they are moving away from the habit of eating wholesome and nutritious food, which may have adverse effect on their health. This matter is of utmost importance therefore, various organizations under the Government of India and The Directorate of Education, GNCT Delhi have issued circulars for promoting importance of eating wholesome & nutritious food among the children and other stakeholders.

Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has directed in the judgment of WP(C) 8568/2010 dated 25.2.2015 (Corrected and released on 16.3.2015) that the guidelines framed by Food Safety and Standads Authority of India (FSSAI) for Promoting Wholesome and Nutritious Food and Restricting/Limiting the Availability of Foods High in Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS Foods) among School Children be implemented by the Administrator, Delhi under rule 43 of DSEAR.  It further directed Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to, on or before 30th April, 2015, consider the said aspect and take a decision thereon and if possible, include the condition aforesaid in the conditions for affiliation / continued affiliation prescribed by it.

Guidelines in this regard have been issued by Directorate of Education, GNCT Delhi. There are no canteens in the Govt. Schools under Directorate of Education, GNCT Delhi and such facilities are available in most of the Aided and Recognised Unaided Schools. Therefore, for creating widespread awareness among children about ill effects of Food High in Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS Foods) & promoting the consumption of wholesome & nutritious food and for effective implementation of the guidelines framed by FSSAI, the Directorate of Education, GNCT Delhi has issued circulars for all Heads of Govt., Govt. Aided and Recognised Unaided Schools under its jurisdiction.

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), has issued strict directions to its affiliated schools to desist from serving fast food in schools.  CBSE has also directed schools to ensure that Junk/fast food needs to be replaced completely with healthy snacks.  Carbonated and aerated beverages may be replaced by Juices and dairy products (Lassi, Chach, Flavored milk etc.).

The syllabus on Health and Physical Education approved by National Monitoring Committee of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) as a follow- up of National Curriculum Framework 2005 has included the contents related to Junk food.  In class three while highlighting the importance of “wholesome diets” “implications of Junk” food has been included as one of the key concepts.  Whereas in class IV, the harmful effects of Junk food and the importance of nutritious food has been included.  In class IX, the nutritional needs, over nutrition, under nutrition and its effects on health are the key concepts of the syllabus.

Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) has issued directives to all its schools not to allow junk food in school canteens and also to educate school children about the benefits of healthful and nutritious food.

University Grant Commission has also issued instructions against availability and sale of Junk food in Higher Educational Institutions.

Educations being a subject in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, substantial majority of the schools are under the purview of the State Government.  It is, therefore, for the respective State/Union Territory Governments to prevent sale of Junk food in schools.

Protection of Dialects

The Government of India has initiated a Scheme known as “Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India’ (SPPEL), being implemented by Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore. This scheme aims at protection, preservation and documentation of all the mother tongues/languages of India which are spoken by less than 10,000 people. Dialects being part of a language are covered under this programme. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has a Scheme for “Establishment of Centres for Endangered Languages” under which centres were approved in respect of nine Central Universities. Further the UGC has been implementing a scheme namely ‘Funding support to the State Universities for study and research in indigenous and endangered language in India’’ under which seven Universities were approved for grants. In addition, a collaborative project between Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda and BHASA, a Non Governmental Organisation working for Promotion and Preservation of Indigenous and Endangered languages was approved by UGC.

Quality of Education

 The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) conducts periodic national surveys of learning achievement of children in classes III, V and VIII and X. Four rounds of National Achievement Survey (NAS) have been conducted so far for class V and three rounds for classes III & VIII. These surveys reveal improvement in learning achievement levels of pupils, in identified subjects from first round to fourth round. Findings of the NAS at class X indicates that privately managed schools performed better than Government and Government Aided schools, in all the subjects and in two subjects Girls outperformed boys. However, only first round of NAS has been conducted at class X level, therefore, it is not possible to comment on the comparative learning achievement.

From current year onwards, Government has decided to conduct National Achievement Survey with district as the sampling unit. In order to focus on quality education, the Central RTE Rules have been amended on 20th February, 2017 to include reference on class-wise, subject-wise Learning Outcomes. The Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science up to the elementary stage have, accordingly, been finalized and shared with all States and UTs. These would serve as a guideline for States and UTs to ensure that all children acquire appropriate learning level. The students learning assessment will be according to the Learning Outcomes developed by NCERT.
Under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiskha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), the State Governments and UT Administrations are supported on several interventions to improve teaching standards, including regular in-service teachers’ training, induction training for newly recruited teachers, recruitment of additional teachers for improving pupilteacher ratio, academic support for teachers through block and cluster resource centres, Maths and Science kits, Lab equipment, special teaching for learning enhancement, ICT facilities in schools, introduction of vocational education component at the secondary level and activities under ‘Unnati’ project for improvement in English language skills.

Additionally, the Central Government, supports States and UTs on early grade reading, writing & comprehension, and early Mathematics programmes through a sub-programme of SSA namely ‘Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat’ (PBBB) in classes I and II. Further, the Government has launched Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA) programme on 09.07.2015, inter alia, as a sub-component of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), to motivate and engage children of the age group from 6-18 years in Science, Mathematics and Technology through observation, experimentation, inference drawing, model building, etc. both through inside and outside classroom activities.


The provisions for age limit and number of attempts were decided in consultation with Medical Council of India (MCI) and Central board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Accordingly, these were included in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) Bulletin 2017 prepared and issued by CBSE. It was further clarified that the three attempts will be counted from 2017 onwards. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Rai Sabyasachi and anr Vs. Union of India and Ors in WP (C) 99 of 2017 ordered to remove the age limit restriction for NEET-2017. The matter was further heard by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India dt. 10.07.2017 and decided that as far as the present year is concerned, nothing survives to be adjudicated in the Writ petitions and they are accordingly, disposed off.

In National Eligibility and Entrance Test- Under Graduate (NEET-UG), from the year 2017, three attempts have been fixed. In Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main too, there are three attempts.

Section 10D of Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 prescribes conducting of a uniform entrance examination namely National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to all medical educational institutions at undergraduate and post-graduate level.
The private medical educational institutions have a management quota which is decided by way of signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the respective State and the Institution. Admission to management quote is also through NEET and common counselling.

Field Experts as Teachers

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has notified the Regulations on Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measure for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education, 2010. These principal regulations along with their subsequent four amendments notified up to 2016 lay down principles and guidelines for recruitment and promotion of faculties at the cadre of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor.

In these Regulations, Master’s degree with UGC specified score along with NET/SET/SLET or Ph.D. earned in conformity with UGC Regulations has been made a mandatory eligibility condition for appointment to various academic positions. However, para 4.1.0 of UGC Regulations, 2010 prescribes an alternative criterion for the post of Professor. As per this criterion, an outstanding professional with established reputation in the relevant field who has made significant contributions to the knowledge in the concerned/allied/relevant discipline could be recruited as a Professor.

The Universities are autonomous bodies created either under the Central Act or State Acts and the onus of recruitment of teaching faculty lies with them.
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