heavy

Brochures and flyers will assist in the Schoolbag Awareness Education Programme (SAEP).

So said Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan at a press conference at Education Towers, St Vincent Street, Port Of Spain, yesterday. Seecharan also shared findings from a committee which he chaired to investigate the schoolbag weight to body ratio among pupils. Seecharan also said: “ 73 per cent of the total weight of school bags at primary and secondary school levels was a result of textbooks.”

The Committee also comprised representatives of the Ministry of Education, Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA), National School Primary Schools Principals’ Association (NAPSPA) and Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Therapy Association. Education minister Anthony Garcia was also present.

Getting the right schoolbag

On the education programme, Seecharan said: “It will target national schools to bring awareness. It will assist in the education and sensitisation of pupils and bookbags weight. It will make use of social media. Pupils will be encouraged to make use of storage facilities that are available in schools. It will target parents.” Both parents and pupils will be guided on choosing, packing, wearing and and carrying a schoolbag.

Among the Committee’s findings were:

- Average schoolbag weight at primary school was 4.57 kg (10.07 pounds).

- No significant difference between the weight of schoolbags for females (4.65 kg) and males (4.51 kg)

- Average school bag weight as a percentage of body weight carried by the pupils was 13 per cent.

Percentage of pupils carrying schoolbags above the upper 15 per cent benchmark ranged between 23 per cent in Standard Five and 58 per cent in Standard Four. More than 50 per cent of the students in standards one to four carry schoolbags above the recommended benchmark. Overall 38 per cent of the pupils carry schoolbags above the recommended benchmark.

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- 86 per cent of primary school pupils used double strapped bag packs

- 65 per cent of primary school pupils indicated they experience discomfort and pain while carrying their schoolbags

- 70 per cent of those who stated they experienced discomfort/pain carried their schoolbags incorrectly

- 98 per cent of secondary school pupils used double strapped bag packs.

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