MANILA, Philippines ? First, there was the ?no homework on weekend? policy in a memo by Education Secretary Armin Luistro.
Now, there is the ?no overloading of school bags? bill filed by Sen. Lito Lapid to prevent young students from getting injured or getting ?deformed.?
Lapid filed Senate Bill 2179 or ?An act limiting the amount of weight of bags carried by children in school and implementing proactive measures to protect school children?s health from the adverse effect of heavy school bag.?
The measure was forwarded to the committees on health and demography; education, arts and culture; and finance last week.
Lapid explained that young students carrying heavy bags had become a ?common phenomenon? in schools as they were required to bring their textbooks, notebooks and other items every day.
However, overloaded backpacks could cause ?chronic, low-level trauma? if children were ?exposed to this practice over a long period since spinal ligaments and muscles are not fully developed until after 16 years of life,? he said.
He cited a study by the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Free State in South Africa, which showed that back pains and spinal problems experienced by young students were due to heavy backpack loads.
?Health is the most priority for the children. Education is futile if the frail bodies of children are compromised. Pupils are supposed to listen to their teachers in school, and read their textbooks at home. In the end, having pupils carry heavy load to school will be counterproductive, with many of them physically deformed as adults,? Lapid said.
?Heavy load in school could be one reason why so many now suffer from spinal injuries, including slipped discs,? he added.
The senator said his bill was meant to make school administrators, teachers, parents and schoolchildren aware of this ?unhealthful practice.?
Lapid proposed that schools disallow overweight bags or those that weigh more than 15 percent of a student?s body weight.