Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to direct schools to not give homework to students of class 1 and class 2. The court also asked the board to set up flying squads to check any violation of the order.
The Madras High Court further directed the CBSE to issue directions to schools across the country to stop use of non-prescribed books. A report has been sought by the court from the central government and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) within four weeks.
The court also asked the central government to instruct state government to ensure that weight of school bags do not exceed 10 per cent of the weight of a child.
It observed that children are neither weightlifters nor school bags loaded containers. Justice N Kirubakaran, while referring to the government orders (GOs) issued by governments of Telangana and Maharashtra, directed the Centre to direct the state governments and governments of Union Territories to formulate a "Children School Bag Policy" reducing the weight of the satchels in line with the guidelines issued by either state.
Besides, the court directed the Central Board of School Education (CBSE), the regional officer of CBSE and the Association of Management of Private Schools to prescribe and use (NCERT) books alone. Justice N Kirubakaran was passing an interim order on a petition from M Purushothaman, an advocate, seeking a direction to CBSE schools to purchase only books published by NCERT and to prescribe syllabus of NCERT.
With regard to homework, it was specifically stated in the counter affidavit filed by secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy of Human Resource Development Ministry that "there is no homework upto class II and (homework can be given) two hours a week from class III." Therefore, no school affiliated to CBSE can prescribe or give homework to class I and class II students.
The judge, referring to various research experts and a parenting psychologist, said: "Many experts find that homework is beneficial only to older kids whereas young children are notably lacking in "executive control", the ability to concentrate, to follow directions, to control impulses and keep the details in mind.
Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect the KG students, first and second class students to do homework, assignment on their own and homework for class I and II children have to be prohibited. The judge, referring to various experts in the medical field, in his order, said, "The doctors say that on an average five- or six-year-old needs about 11 hours of sleep each night and if they leave for school early in the morning, they should have early bed time.
(With PTI inputs)