Schools to open, but where are the books?

Parents complain of three-month delay; officials say printing, distribution will be completed by September 15

Published: 18th August 2021 06:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th August 2021 03:52 PM   |  A+A-

School children, school bag

Image for representational purpose only. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While schools are getting ready to reopen Classes 9 and 10 from August 23, students are still to get textbooks as Covid-related issues have delayed printing of textbooks, sources said. “Normally, there is a delay of about a month for textbooks to reach students. But this year, it has been three months since online classes began, but the books are yet to arrive,” said Shivanna HP, parent of a Class 9 student from an aided school.

Economically underprivileged students in the school are finding it difficult to catch up because of lack of access to gadgets to attend online classes and absence of textbooks, he said. His daughter receives calls from other students, requesting her to share her notes with them, he added.

A principal of a government school in Halageri, Koppal said his school has created a book bank for Class 9 and 10 students. Fifty per cent of books for Class 9 students have been collected, while Class 10 textbooks are trickling in as students finished their exams only recently. Government schools started book banks after the office of the commissioner of public instruction in Gulbarga division issued an order in July. Students at his school try to share their textbooks, but it is difficult now with online classes, he added.

There are also options like downloading textbooks from the website and reading them on the phone, said AIlamaprabhu Bettaduru, state president of All-India Save Education Committee  and retired principal. But limited access to smartphones which belong to their parents and reading from a small screen are the problems students from rural areas and those from economically weaker backgrounds are facing, he added. “The government has allowed examinations and admissions for the benefit of private colleges and schools, and not for learning of students. Now, the government wants to restart classes even before vaccinating students and teachers, and issuing textbooks to students,” said Rajesh Bhat, from teachers association.

Commissioner of Public Instruction Anbu Kumar told TNIE that 56 per cent of textbooks have been printed and distribution started two days ago. The delay in printing was because of Covid, he said and assured that 80 per cent of books will be printed and 75 per cent distributed by the month-end. “By September 15, the entire process is scheduled to be completed,” he added.

There’s no reason to worried about children getting infected with Covid-19 as it’s effect on kids is proven to be marginal, said Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh on Tuesday. “Over 8.75 lakh students wrote their SSLC examinations in the state. The experts had earlier predicted that it may affect children but have now clarified that it will not,” he added. The minister informed that in case a student gets infected, the school will be closed for a week and reopened only after sanitisation.  


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