June 14, 2008

Running Pillar to Post, for a Textbook

By Bharat Yagnik

AHMEDABAD: The school bags rest light on the shoulders of the students this year. This is no good news, as the lightweight factor is more for the non-availability of textbooks. Earlier this week, schools reopened after summer vacations and classes began, but most students started their new academic year without the pre-requisite - books.

There is more than one finger of accusation pointing at Gujarat State Text Book Board (GSTBB). Hasmukh Adia, principal secretary of state education said, "We had warned the board a month ago. Now, we have directed them to sort out this problem within a week."

The school principals, students and their parents now wonder how to begin studies without books. This has been a recurring problem for last three years. Tired of running from pillar to post, students say they've had enough. Worst hit by this book scarcity are English medium students, especially those in VIII, XI and XII. The state government's promises to provide free books to grant-in-aid schools in standard VIII too have fallen flat.

The booksellers have their own problems to contend with. The book and stationery sellers' association Naresh Shah said, "GSTBB has not given us books yet, so what do we give the students? We had asked for 20,000 sets of books for seven subjects of class VII. We only got 1200 sets!"

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