Every year, there’s the same old story – Where are my textbooks? – ask students when the new session starts in June every year. The story was the same 50 years back when I was a student myself – running around, looking for books at all the bookstores around the city.
When the demand for textbooks is known beforehand, why can’t they be printed before the due date? Take the example of Tamil Nadu Text Book Corporation which had floated tenders in May end for printers for printing school textbooks. A total of 6.5 crore books were needed to be printed at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore. Though they are trying to rope in as many printers as possible for the same in order to deliver the textbooks on time but whether they would be able to do it is still remained in jeopardy.
Similarly, the Uttar Pradesh Text Book Corporation needed to print around 17 crore textbooks. But the process of allocation in regard to placing the printing order has still not been completed. How and when the printers/publishers shall be able to meet the deadline? Obviously, there would be late supply of books reaching children. It seems to be a mockery of the education system.
These are just two cases – the problem is deep rooted. Similar problems are found in nearly all states. Now, who would suffer due to unavailability of books? Obviously, the students’ community who would find it difficult to cope up with the school studies! It is indeed a matter of shame that we are not able to provide the necessities for education that too linked to education.
Tenders for printing textbooks should in fact start six months before the printing deadline and books should be available in the market way before the schools reopen. It is a serious issue and it needs to be resolved at the macro level. The concerned authorities should come forward with constructive solution to this major problem and only then we can march towards an educated and developed nation.
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