Learning Without Baggage: A Comprehensive Guide to Embracing Bagless Days in the Classroom
Over the past few years, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has introduced several groundbreaking reforms with the intent to revolutionize the education system of our country. One such transformative concept that promises to reshape the classroom experience is NEP’s bagless days policy.
This policy suggests that students between Class 6 to 8 will participate in a 10-day bagless period each year where they will focus on activity-based learning. It brings students the opportunity to explore vocational education and get hands-on experience of learning subjects like carpentry, gardening, pottery and other vocational crafts.
Whether you are an instructor, learner or even a school administrator, learning about NEP’s bagless days policy is absolutely imperative. In this blog, we take you through the core objectives, implementation strategies and practical ways to embrace this revolutionary shift in education.
NEP’s Bagless Days Policy – An Overview
The concept of introducing 10 bagless days at school every year is a unique way to drive student attention towards vocational subjects. Through this initiative, the NEP intends to expose at least 50% of students to vocational education. Moreover, it bridges the gap between theoretical learning and the practical application of knowledge, which empowers students with the right skill sets to become future-ready.
Moreover, these multi-skill activities help students practice and acquire soft skills, teamwork, creativity, cooperation, etc. that theoretical learning rarely teaches. During bagless days, schools are encouraged to promote enrichment activities like quizzes, athletics, craft sessions and so on. In fact, students may also take on internship opportunities based on vocational subjects of their choice. The program suggests allocating 10 days or 60 hours of school time to hands-on and engaging vocational activities.
The NCERT is expected to frame a practice-based curriculum for Class 6 to 8 that will be part of the syllabus. The outcome of NEP’s bagless days policy is to promote a holistic and skill-based approach to learning by equipping students with essential vocational competencies from an early age.
Key Objectives of the Bagless Days Policy
The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) issued some key guidelines on bagless days to be introduced in middle school earlier this year. The primary purpose of crafting such an initiative is to eliminate the stress from learning and turn it into a joyful experience instead. The idea is to develop a future where students can move beyond being just exam takers and become active participants in their own growth and development.
The ‘10 days bagless schooling’ policy is expected to achieve the following objectives:
1. Build observation-based learning capacity and offer scope for practice
2. Develop an understanding of the relation between interdependence and community
3. Provide exposure to the outside world and the transactions that impact day-to-day life
4. Promote the dignity of labor by incorporating hands-on activities to better understand varied vocational professions
5. Encourage interactions with local artisans to further popularize the concept of vocal for local
6. Ensure exposure to higher education avenues in creative fields
While each objective mentioned above is crucial and must be considered while promoting bagless days at school, it is important for both teachers and students to have fun in order to make the most of the teaching-learning process while implementing this curriculum.
Strategies for Implementing 10 Bagless Days at School
A key aspect that teachers need to understand is that introducing students to 10 bagless days in an educational setting involves not just shedding the backpack but also shedding conventional teaching practices. The idea is to promote hands-on learning, practical projects, a creative mindset and critical thinking outside the confines of textbooks. When students are exposed to learning in the real world through outdoor explorations, activity-based workshops, etc., it ignites curiosity and fosters valuable life skills.
For implementation of this innovative policy, a hands-on teaching-learning curriculum has been developed. This module consists of 10 activities, some of which involve experiential projects, field visits, guest sessions by local artisans, demonstrations, workshops with professionals/artists/skilled workers and so on.
So, while teachers have a well-designed curriculum to go by, here are some implementation strategies mentioned in the policy that they should know about:
1. The policy advises schools to develop a class-wise range for the weight of a student’s bag, which should not exceed more than 10% of their body weight. Schools should conduct routine checks to ensure that students are not carrying extremely heavy backpacks
2. Administrators and teachers must work together to develop a timetable that provides a day-wise breakdown of the books to be carried
3. Students should be encouraged to share textbooks in order to save them from having to carry around everything
4. Teachers should develop and plan the schedule of activities based on the learning outcomes they are looking to target
Practical Activities to Implement the Bagless Policy
While NEP’s bagless policy clearly outlines its key objectives and implementation strategies, it is important for teachers to use their creativity and come up with the right activities to make the most of this innovative initiative. This should ideally include a mix of indoor and outdoor activities that stimulate creativity and also help students develop beneficial skills.
Let’s take a look at four examples of practical activities to implement 10 bagless days at school:
1. Educational Tours & Field Visits: Outdoor trips can be a great way to make learning fun. In History class, for example, students learn about museums and monuments. Introduce the idea of traveling to some notable historic sites to boost interest and build awareness in students.
2. Experiments: Conducting experiments on the field or in a lab encourages students to investigate, ideate, create, discuss and critically think about what they have learned and draw insightful conclusions.
3. Natural Explorations: Visits to national parks, theme parks, hiking trips or even wildlife sanctuaries is an effective way for students to observe and learn more about nature. It may also encourage them to explore a variety of new vocations.
4. Surveys & Interviews: Conducting surveys urges students to seek and collect information through interviews to draw meaningful insights. This helps them gain first-hand experience in building communication skills, framing questions, preparing reports, etc.
Ultimately, implementing 10 bagless days every school year not only reduces the weight on students’ shoulders but also enriches them with practical knowledge from the real world. It provides them with the opportunity to learn unique skills and foster their creativity by focusing on vocational subjects. It presents a valuable opportunity to prioritize students’ interests, well-being and academic growth.
Moreover, focusing on the holistic development of students is a crucial step towards cultivating an equitable and healthy school environment. But, what makes the school environment a productive space for students? Fun and engaging learning experiences. To redefine the teaching-learning process in the online world, check out Extramarks– a 360-degree digital learning platform that offers access to cutting-edge edtech tools, transforming the academic experience for both teachers and learners.