Surveys fail to spark action on school bags

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 September, 2007, 12:00am

Schoolchildren are still being burdened with bags that are too heavy, despite a decade of surveys highlighting the problem.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which has conducted surveys to weigh school bags since 1998, found that - over the 10 years - 54.4 per cent to 91.3 per cent of bags exceeded the acceptable level of 10 per cent of their child's weight.

Of the 48 primary school pupils who weighed their school bags at a small park in Ma Tau Wai Road, To Kwa Wan, yesterday, 59.6 per cent found their bags were too heavy - with the heaviest weighing in at 7kg.

William Lai Tsz-him, a Primary Five pupil who weighs 57kg, was carrying the 7kg bag which he packs every day.

Kowloon City district councillor Wen Choy-bon urged schools to implement 'book sharing' programmes and lockers so that children would not have to carry so many textbooks.

Mr Wen said that school bags should weigh no more than 10 per cent of a pupil's weight, according to the advice of medical experts.

'Overweight school bags could affect a child's growth.' he said.

Wong Po-choi, chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation - an advisory body for the Education Bureau - suggested schools should provide more lockers for pupils.

'I hope the government, parents, schools and education bodies can sit down and find a feasible way to solve the problem,' he said.

Legislator Cheung Man-kwong said most textbooks contained too much useless information, making it a heavy and expensive exercise for students.