Students have been yelling their complaint on heavy school bags for years. Yet, not many constructive responses have been made by society so far. According to a recent news report, the average weight of an S.3 student’s school bag is now 5 kg, while the burden of a primary six student is no less light if calculated in the school bag weight-to-body weight ratio. Heavy school bags create unbearable pressure to the spines of growing teens. Instead of telling students not to bring unnecessary items to school, I believe that there are far more measures schools and textbook publishers can take to alleviate the worrying situation. Textbooks constitute a major proportion of weight in a school bag. There have been voices from parents that textbook publishers are the ones to blame. In average, the number of pages in a secondary school textbook is 200. Despite the fact that students have to bring 200 pages to school (for one subject only), generally teachers only go over about 20 pages per month. By easy calculation one can conclude that bringing such a think textbook is both pitiful and absurd. Actually, there is one practical and beneficial solution. Textbook publishers should separate the textbooks into different booklets, each covering a discrete topic. Since teachers usually lecture in a topic-based approach, students will only need to bring a thin booklet to school under the new arrangement. Not only do students benefit from a lighter load, but the publishers will gain as well. The use of loose-leaf binding in textbooks will need more pieces of paper in total, because cash booklet will have its own cover and functional pages such as content and index pages. The extra cost should not be significant as it will be averaged out by mass production, but the publishers can lift the price a bit as long as customers are willing to buy a textbook using a better binding method. The publishers will have nothing to lose but profit to gain, so why should they delay...
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