Kalam advocates lighter bags for school children

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Kochi, Nov 8 (UNI) Strongly advocating lighter school bags for children, former President APJ Abdul Kalam today said the authorities should adopt the 'term textbook', wherein the children will be required to carry only one textbook for all subjects for each term.

Declaring Kochi as the 'First Child Friendly School City' in the country at a function here, Dr Kalam said the CBSE and the state boards should take this initiative to relieve the children of the burden of carrying heavy bags at a tender age.

''We should facilitate lively learning and I suggest to the authorities to adopt the model of one term textbook and one file folder,'' he added.

Stating that the education system should be geared towards encouraging children to look for relevant information, Dr Kalam said information should not be dumped on them.

Describing children as the wealth of the nation and the future of the country, he said schols should be turned into laboratories for nurturing the creativity of children.

He also suggested that the children should be made to complete their homework in the school itself and the free time at home should be spent learning moral values and good habits from their parents.

The children could be graded on the basis of a written exam and observation of their moral conduct, he suggested.

Lauding Kerala for taking yet another initiative, he said the 'Child Friendly School Initiative' could become a model for the rest of the country.

State Education Minister M A Baby said it would be the endeavour of the LDF Government to expand the initiative to the entire state.

District Collector M Beena said under the programme, 118 primary schools in Kochi had been declared to be 'child friendly' on the bais of a ten-parameter yardstick formulated by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Indian Academy of Paediatricts (IAP).

The 'ten commandments' included no physical punishment, no excess baggage, safe and proper transportation, clean kitchen and dining space, at least four game periods in a week, safe drinking water, well ventilated and illuminated classrooms, periodic health check-ups and adequate number of toilets.

The initiative has been implemented by the Kochi Corporation in association with NRHM and IAP.

Later, Dr Kalam handed over a plaque to Kochi Mayor Mercy Williams, declaring Kochi as a 'child friendly school city'.

Former state minister K V Thomas, MLA, was also present at the function.

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