KOCHI: Parents of CBSE school students are in a fix. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, during his daily Covid briefing recently, said classes will begin from June 1 and online mode will be the norm. However, the students and parents have been unable to get the required textbooks. Rumours that the lockdown might be extended hasn’t come as any consolation for them.
Shabeer H, the parent of a class I student of a prominent school in Ernakulam, said the school gave them a list of books to be bought from a well-known book store in the city. “That was it. Due to the pandemic, various stores, including the one I was supposed to buy books from, introduced a system wherein parents call them and book a time slot to buy the books. However, the stores are not picking up phones now,” he said.
He said it would have been good if schools purchased the books in bulk and arranged for parents to get them. Deepa Sabu, the mother of a Class IV student, said parents were worried. “We hope schools make some arrangement to ensure students have some learning material when classes begin,” she said. On why schools were not getting textbooks from publishers and supplying them to students, Indira Rajan, secretary-general, Council of CBSE Schools, Kerala, said the parents were to be blamed.
“Earlier, schools supplied textbooks after getting them from publishers. However, parents accused the schools of profiteering, alleging they were selling textbooks for exorbitant prices. This forced schools to stop distribution of textbooks,” she said. Jaya Sabin, principal, Greet’s Public School, said parents of their students need not worry as the school will be directing teachers to post the lessons on Google Classroom.
“We have called a teachers’ meeting to discuss this. Since we are following NCERT textbooks, downloading them is easy. The only problem is with Hindi and Malayalam. For that, teachers will share the screenshots of chapters before the class,” she said. On its part, Global Public School changed its style to make it compatible with online classes.
“Since last year, we are following a no-textbook policy for junior classes. It will be followed this year too. The mantra is flexibility and ensuring no stress for children. The virtual lessons will be complemented with worksheets that have been already designed and soft copies sent to students,” said Lakshmi Ramachandran, mentor of the school. She said the aim is to lessen financial burden on parents too.
Indira said, “While providing materials online or going for alternative arrangements might be conducive in these times, nothing can replace textbooks when it comes to learning. It will be tough for parents to log in to Google Classroom or even take printouts of the lessons posted and teach their children. So, the government needs to make some arrangement to help parents.”