Textbook shortage: 20% students yet to receive free govt textbooks


Textbook shortage: 20% students yet to receive free govt textbooks

Saumya Mishra | May 18, 2019 15:28 hrs

Some students of the lower primary government schools in Guwahati are yet to receive free school textbooks which are provided by the state government.

As per the school teachers, in the primary classes, at least 10 to 20 per cent students are facing shortage of books. While the session had begun from January, the education department is yet to address the shortage of books, informed authorities. 

“The students who had taken new admission in schools were not accounted for in the earlier list which schools had sent to the education department regarding the number of books required. After this, all districts had sent fresh requirement of books in their respective schools to the state government, which the department has been unable to supply,” informed general secretary of All Assam Lower Primary Teachers’ Association (AALPTA), Ratul Goswami.  

He added that the schools have already conducted first evaluation of students while the second set of examinations is slated to be held in June.  
In the first evaluation, some students had to appear in the exams without any textbooks. 
“All the districts had sent their additional requirements as per their shortage in the month of February to the state government. However, the shortfall has still not been fulfilled after more than three months,” informed another government lower primary teacher. 

In the meantime, the school authorities say that they have been asked by the government to adjust and manage textbooks at the district level. 

Government school teachers said that in the wake of lack of books, the students are managing to study by sharing books with each other in classrooms. 
On the other hand, talking to G Plus, state education minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya said that the schools send the department a demand of books according to which the government gives the orders to the Assam Textbook Corporation for printing a particular number of books per subject every year before the beginning of the academic session. 
“According to this demand, the inspector of schools informs us about the total requirement of textbooks in each district. Now after the process of printing and distribution of books is over, if the schools demand additional number of books to be sent, then it becomes difficult for us,” said the minister.

Bhattacharya added that the government is not at fault in this case. He said that this gap can be easily met by schools themselves by using book banks which exist in each district.
As per authorities, each government school has been asked to create and maintain a book bank to meet the shortage of textbooks if the need arises. 

“For instance, if we have provided 100 books for a class in a year, after the students are promoted to the next class in the next academic session, we ask the teachers to keep at least 80 to 90 books which are in good condition as reserve which can be used for the next year.”

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