No books, no bag: Learning still continues at Bowenpally's St. Peter's School on bagless day

One day a month, the entire school—all students from nursery to class 11—do not carry their bags to school. This day is a fun learning day for the children.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  10 Aug 2022 2:30 AM GMT
No books, no bag: Learning still continues at Bowenpallys St. Peters School on bagless day

Hyderabad: At Bowenpally's St. Peter's School, the students of class 4 are busy looking after the respective plants they grew from the leaves, roots, and stems of some plants. In class 5, a small market has been set up where the students are buying and selling different items. The menu card placed near the commodities shows the price of the different items being sold in the market. If one enters class 9 where a tug of war is in progress, one would think the students are fighting but they are having their Physics class.

In class 4, it was the Science period and the students were learning a lesson on vegetative propagation. In the second class—class 5—the teacher was trying to brush up on the four basic arithmetic skills, and in the third class (class 9), the students were learning about force and friction.

Interestingly, none of the students have brought their books or bags and are just playing games and engaging in various fun activities, however, they are learning simultaneously. This is how a "bagless day" works at St. Peters School.

One day a month, the entire school—all students from nursery to class 11—do not carry their bags to school. This day is a fun learning day for the children.

"CBSE is now encouraging experiential learning to bring about a shift from simply memorising concepts to skill-based understanding. Also, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 directs schools to have 10 bagless days a year. Further, it says that the middle and senior class students should be offered vocational education in those 10 days. This is where we got the idea from," says Dr. K. Suvarna, principal of St. Peters School Bowenpally.

The bagless day initiative was started in April 2022. Dr. Suvarna said after only two bagless days, they are observing positive outcomes in the entire school community. The school is realising that learning need not always be traditional, monotonous, and that it can be a fun activity too.

With the initiative, Dr. Suvarna says the students have started developing a greater love for the subject and this will automatically stop them from memorising concepts. Moreover, she says the students are able to develop an emotional connection with their teachers.

Based on her own observation, Dr. Suvarna says such modes of learning ensure 100% participation in classrooms. "In every class, some students are unfortunately branded as shy or emerging learners. We have seen that such students are no more scared of losing marks and they just take part in the activity without any inhibition or fear," she says.

Not just that, there has been a significant change in the parents' mindsets, she says. "The parents have started understanding that learning is much more than scoring 10 on 10. They are realizing that learning can be a fun activity too," she says.

Meanwhile, the students are also happy that they can walk to school free one day every month without worrying about homework or assignments. Tashe Benedict, a student of class 8, clearly remembers a science class activity on a bagless day when her team was asked to collect natural resources from the school playground. She fondly remembers how she went around with her friends and collected stones, the bark of trees, water, etc. "The best part about the activities on a bagless day is that we play as a team. This helps us to get to know our friends better," says Tashe.

Since the bagless day is on the same day for all classes and the timetable on that day remains as usual, the teachers have to plan activities in their respective subjects for different classes.

Because of the success of the initiative, the school administration is planning to implement it every fortnight and extend it to two bagless days a month.

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