There is a concerning number of pupils, be they primary or secondary, who live in the reality of having to lug around a heavy book bag. In most cases, the cumulative weight of these items overburdens these children who are barely able to carry them around.

This reality poses severe health risks to pupils, as their bodies ­undergo rapid bone growth during the pubertal growth spurt period of their life cycle.

Factors such as the weight of school bags, the length of time spent lugging around overweight school bags and body posture can lead to the development of kyphosis and scoliosis in pupils (irregular bending of the spine).

Therefore, it is essential that this burden be lifted off the shoulders of the youth so as to allow for their uninhibited growth.

Concerns have also been raised over the safety of their belongings during the hours of school. To mitigate this, some pupils have turned to carrying around their bags during their breaks. This further adds to the above-stated health risks by adding further strain to the growing musculoskeletal systems of these children.

These risks can easily be averted through the utilisation and implementation of lockers within the school premises.

These lockers can house these heavy books the children are tasked with lugging back and forth between school and their houses.

Essential items the pupils require to be taken home with them would be the only items to be transported, concomitantly reducing the cumulative weight being carried and, also, reducing irreversible damage to their bodies.

Furthermore, these lockers play an essential role in ­guaranteeing privacy by creating a place in schools that can house their personal belongings, rather than having them out in the open. Pupils will have a sense of comfort, knowing their possessions are safe and secured throughout the day.

It is essential that we act now to preserve the health of our children!

Dr Rai Ragbir

Member of Parliament

for Cumuto/Manzanilla

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