Weighing in the Issue of Heavy Schoolbags Carried by Pupils in Primary School
Keywords:Heavy schoolbags, primary school pupils
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in English; abstract also in Chinese.
The issue of heavy schoolbags is a common concern among educationists, parents and school children. The pervasiveness of the carriage of heavy schoolbags among 482 primary school pupils from two schools was studied. Participants were grouped according to sex and primary levels (i.e. P1 & P2, aged 7-8 years and P3 & P4, aged 9-10 years). Body mass with and without schoolbags was measured on a single weekday using a calibrated weighing machine. Pupils also completed a 10-item questionnaire that solicited responses about the type of schoolbag carried, the number of bags carried, how the bags were carried, whether they felt that their bags were too heavy, if they had suffered pain, soreness or numbness from carrying the schoolbags and information about their travel to and from school. Results revealed that pupils carried bags that weighed about 15% to 17% of body weight. The figures also indicated that 60.4% of the lower primary group (P1 and P2) exceeded the guideline of 3.5 kg outlined by the Ministry of Education (Singapore) for schoolbags, and 55.8% exceeded the guideline of 4.5 kg for the middle primary group (P3 and P4). Participants also reported that they carried bags that were too heavy, and experienced pain, soreness or numbness in the neck, shoulders or back. Results of this study indicate that more can be done to reduce the physical load of schoolbags for primary pupils. Implications of the findings are discussed, including two current initiatives to create an electronic learning environment within the school compound where pupils can access textbook and workbook information.
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Copyright (c) 2003 Asian Journal of Physical Education & Recreation
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