BENGALURU: Though the Ministry of Human Resources Development states that the number of universities and colleges in India have increased by 20 to 30 per cent in the last decade, access to higher education can be afforded only by 10 per cent notes a survey of 2014. The survey was conducted by economists, researchers and Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy. With an aim to address this issue, a newly formed NGO launched a free-to-use textbook library for college student about two weeks ago.
This is the first initiative of Bhavasar Akshaya Trust that started its operations in April with an objective to empower students and women. In two weeks time, the textbook campaign gathered over 100 college textbooks of all streams including arts, science and commerce. The textbooks are in fact hand-me-downs of the college students themselves. Online donation of the textbooks are made by logging on to their website. The NGO aims to establish a textbook bank in at least five centres around the city by October. Currently the books are stored at K Narayanapura Main Road where the NGO’s head office is located.
The textbooks can be accessed for free. “I have seen many students struggle for higher education. Something as useful as a textbook can be reused. So, instead of wasting money on a new textbook, we are here to give it to you for free,” says Murali Dutt PS, managing trustee of Bhavasar Akshaya Trust.
Murali says that the idea of textbook circulation was inspired by another city-based NGO that gives textbooks for free once a year. “We thought instead of giving free textbooks, why not reuse them when students give away their old books,” says Murali.
The textbook library has started with a confined list of books for five years of college, from PUC until the final degree. The borrowed textbooks come with a two-month ownership and can be renewed for as long as one year by the user. The only criteria is that it has to be well-maintained. The organisation is currently working on an e-version of the textbooks as well. A textbook library will be next launched in Mysuru tentatively in October.