Schools asked to reduce pupils' heavy workloads

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 12:00am

Updated at 6.04pm:
Schools should minimise the number of subjects taught in one day and think about the size of textbooks before choosing them so students can reduce the weight of their school bags, the Education Department said on Wednesday.

In a newsletter issued to primary and secondary schools, the Education Department expressed concern about the stress and fatigue that overweight school bags brought to children.

It said schools should redesign the timetable in a way that lessons requiring students to bring a large number of textbooks, exercise books and heavy materials are evenly spread out over the week.

''In selecting textbooks, schools should take into account the weight and size in addition to their educational value for teaching and learning,'' the newsletter said.

It added: ''Schools should avoid using too many supplementary workbooks or exercises [and] teachers may use loose-leaf or single-page worksheets in giving homework.''

The Department also suggested schools broaden the styles of homework to tasks such as searching for information on the Internet, doing experiments and presenting oral reports.

''If space permits, schools should review the adequacy of furniture items, such as lockers, bookcases and shelves, and make necessary adjustments within financial resources,'' the newsletter said.

''Meanwhile, teachers should give allowance to students who fail to bring textbooks and exercise books.''

The full set of guidelines for teachers and parents on reducing the weight of school bags can be found at

Concern over heavy school bags grew after a nine-year-old boy fell 20 floors to his death when his heavy school bag pulled him over safety railings at a block of flats in Tuen Mun last January.