* Schoolbag must not weigh more than 10-15% of child's total body weight
* Bag should be made of lightweight materials such as wool, light textile, etc
* HMC also specifies size of ideal bag for students of different age groups

The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has issued an advisory on what an ideal schoolbag should be like, stressing the need to protect children's health.

The advisory was posted on HMC's Twitter page on Thursday in the run-up to the start of the new academic year on August 25.

Recently, the HMC also offered a host of tips on reducing ‘back-to-school’ anxiety among students.

The ideal schoolbag, according to the advisory, should have "compact cotton padding from the backside of the bag" and the "waist strap should be connected to the shoulder straps".

The bag should be waterproof, easy to clean, durable and of high quality. "The schoolbag must not weigh more than 10-15% of the child's total body weight," the advisory states.

The bag should have multiple pockets to keep it balanced and ensure easy access to books and other contents, HMC points out. Also, the schoolbag should have wide cotton shoulder straps.

"The schoolbag should be made of lightweight materials such as wool, light textile, etc," the advisory continues.

The HMC has also highlighted the specifications of the ideal bag. For elementary school students, these are as follows: 40cm in height, 28cm in width and 12cm in depth.

Specifications of the ideal schoolbag for middle and high school students are 45cm in height, 30cm in width and 12cm in depth.

Further, the advisory stresses that the bag should have an extendable handle commensurate with the child's stature.

"When opting for a wheeled schoolbag, choose one with large wheels," it adds.

The HMC had recently pointed out that parents need to monitor their children’s behaviour as the new academic year approaches and a certain amount of school-related anxiety is normal among students.

“The beginning of a new school year can be a challenging time for young people and can trigger severe stress and anxiety. Educational environments play a dominant role in young people’s intellectual, emotional and social development and children with mental disorders such as anxiety can face major challenges. It’s important for parents to be vigilant and carefully monitor their children,” said Dr Saleem al-Nuaimi, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist with HMC's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

While school anxiety is not a psychiatric diagnosis, when the condition is severe, it may be a symptom of an anxiety disorder and could signal the need for professional intervention, according to HMC.

Meanwhile, the 'Back to School' campaign launched by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education for the sixth consecutive year is continuing at KidZania Doha and Mall of Qatar in order to prepare school students for the new academic year.

The campaign is being held until tomorrow in co-operation with a number of partners and supporters under the slogan 'With Education We Build Qatar'. Page 16

Related Story