With Govt’s Free Textbook Scheme Going Awry, English Medium Students Are Left High & Dry
Ahmedabad: Most students of secondary schools are attending schools without textbooks. Government scheme of providing free textbooks seems to have gone awry for most schools and this has left students in a state of confusion. The reason — free textbooks promised by the state government to every grant-in-aid secondary schools in the state have not reached most schools. Instead, the books have been allegedly distributed haphazardly and so most schools have not received the books.
Under Universal Education Programmer, a Central government scheme, every student should get free textbooks but there are many students who are yet to get their free textbooks and it is well past a week since the academic sessions started. Though Gujarat State Textbook Board claims to have distributed 7.5 lakh sets of textbooks, most
schools have denied getting any sets of books. While some Gujarati medium schools have received the books, most English medium schools are a deprived lot. “We’ve received textbooks for Gujarati medium but no material for the English medium has come so far. We were told to wait for two or three days. This has compounded our confusion as to what to teach in the class rooms,” said Father Fernando Durai, principal, St Xavier’s High School Loyola Hall.
Echoed Dhiraj Jogani, principal, MK Higher Secondary School, “We’ve received just 25 per cent of textbooks for English medium students. Therefore, we’ve told our students to buy the books from the market.” Not only this, there is more to it. Even if students want to buy textbooks there is a dearth of books in the market. “We decided to buy own books but there are no textbooks available in the market,” said Pankti Bhatt, a class VIII student of CC Shah High School from Surat.
While another student complained there was not much being taught in the school as most students didn’t have any books with them. “We don’t know what to do without books as we’ve been sitting idle for a week since schools started,” said Akash, who also is class VIII student of St Xavier’s High School Loyola Hall. Of the 7.5 lakh textbook sets which the state textbook board claims to have distributed, only 10,000 sets were meant for English medium
Textbooks woes crop up every academic session. For past three years, students have regularly suffered due to board’s allegedly negligence. In 2007, students had declared a statewide agitation till August for non-availability of textbooks.
According to a secondary school teacher Pooja Rai, Gujarat State Textbook Board never seems to believe in proper planning before going ahead with books distribution
Times of India, Ahmedabad, Date June 17, 2009