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New regulation set for schoolbag weight

By Mariam Chanishvili
Thursday, October 27
From the next academic year, a regulation on school textbooks will be enforced. As a result, from 2017, the maximum weight limit for the schoolchildren’s bags will be three kilograms.

Doctors and the Ministry of Education say similar regulations are in place in most developed countries.

However, until now no such regulations have been in place in Georgia, where the average weight of 3-4th graders is five kilograms and the weight may rise to 8-9 kilograms for older schoolchildren.

The World Health Organization’s standard says the bags must not exceed the 10% of the weight of the child carrying it. In Georgia, elementary schoolchildren often have to carry bags as heavy as half their bodyweight.

Parents say that this problem might cause spinal problems, and doctors stress that children often suffer backaches and scoliosis due to their heavy bags.

Several months ago, a petition appeared on the Internet asking the government to enforce special regulations with the tagline: “Heavy Textbooks and Bags Harm Child Health!”

The petition was drawn up on behalf of the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvil,i and the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Tamar Sanikidze.

Now Georgia has a new Minister of Education, Alexander Jejelava, who voiced the initiative of reducing the weight of bags.

According to the new regulations, each textbook’s maximum weight should be 300 grams. In total, the bag should not be heavier than three kilograms.