No School Bag Day: A Day in School Without the Burden of the Bag

It is with utmost happiness and gratitude that we, the GRAAM family would like to thank the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri B S Yedyurappa and the Government of Karnataka for officially launching 'No School Bag Day' or ‘Sambhrama Shanivara’. While delivering his Budget 20-21 address, Hon’ble Chief Minister declared that two Saturdays of every month will be observed as ‘No School Bag Day’, with the aim of providing a joyful learning experience for children. We are happy to have contributed to the conceptualisation of the initiative.

No School Bag Day: A Day in School Without the Burden of the Bag

Amidst times where education has become reduced to mere academic percentages and its associated social values, the Government of Karnataka (GoK) officially announced two Saturdays in a month to be dedicated for observing ‘No School Bag Day’ as a mandatory ritual across all government schools in the state with the aim of approaching education as a joyful learning experience. The task of formulating a concept note and conduct a pilot for No School Bag Day was duly entrusted to GRAAM by the Department of Education, GoK. 

No School Bag Day is not a new idea and was part of the education system over the past years. However, the existing model was subjected to limitations. It was approached as a largely conceptual framework and was reduced to extra-curricular activities in most of the places where it was happening. Therefore, considering this status, the government felt the need to review the existing framework of No School Bag Day

Observing Sugamya Shikshas (GRAAMs comprehensive school development program) activities, the government felt that it resonates with the intent of No School Bag Day. Accordingly, at a press meet, GRAAM was entrusted with the task of drafting a concept note for conducting No School Bag Day. Following this announcement, Dr. Basavaraju R, Executive Director drafted a concept note based on three principles- Awareness (sharing of prior knowledge on the topic), Application (self-experiencing of prior knowledge) and Analysis (reflection of the experience and contemplating on ones own responsibility). Subsequently, on submission of concept note, model plan and guidelines, the education department suggested for conducting two pilots in selected Sugamya Shiksha schools.

The selected schools were Government High School, Udburu (Mysuru) and Government Senior Primary School, Bhuvanahalli (Hassan). The model plan basically touched upon the importance of evoking civic responsibility in children based on two themes Public Buildings and Solid Waste Management. In Udbur school, the status of public buildings was identified and reported by children through village exposure activities. In Bhuvanahalli school, solid waste management issues, importance and probable solutions were presented in the form of group discussions, skits, etc., within the school. Therefore, the methodology and focus towards No School Bag Day was differently approached. 

No School Bag Day was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Public Education and accordingly, a delegation of officials from the education department attended the two pilots. Dr. K. G. Jagadeesh, IAS, Commissioner, Department of Education, GoK, witnessed No School Bag Day activities held in Bhuvanahalli school and was convinced that this will thrive in schools and should be considered as a value. 

Dr Basavaraju was further invited for the state level panel to mentor and guide selected teachers to develop modules for conducting No School Bag Day and review the submitted modules.  

GRAAM is happy and proud to have become the contributing source for the creation of a well-nourished generation who responds to the society progressively.

Links of Media coverage of the No School Bag Day featured in news portals are as follows:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/no-school-bag-day/article29912214.ece

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2020/jan/12/no-bag-day-in-schools-from-next-academic-year-2088474.html

https://citytoday.news/no-school-bag-day-held-at-government-high-school-in-udbur/

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