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Sharing books is a noble thing to do

Ruchira Talapatra, New Delhi, May 5, 2015, DHNS 22:42 IST
Jasline Sondhi Kaur of Salwan Public School in Rajendra Nagar is in class 12 and will be soon preparing for her medical exams. She says, “I wish, and I will be elated, if I find some old books of an AIIMS pass-out.”

“I will have his or her notes and the important parts in the books will also be marked as well,” she says.

For Kaur, sharing books and passing on old school books from one class to another not only helps ‘save money’ but also in making someone’s study more ‘memorable’.
Kaur passes on her old books to her younger sister and has been quite content to study from her elder’s sister’s hand-me-downs.

Neetu Singh, Biology teacher from Queen’s Valley School says, “Whatever one may say, in the end all these heavy reference books find their way to the kabadiwallahs. Why not just give it to someone needy?”

“Every year, children spend at least Rs 5,000 on new books; this is excluding the cost of reference books which Science students usually require. These books hardly change every year, if instead of buying all new books at least some can be just given to the juniors, it would be very helpful,” says Singh.

She feels that buying new books, unnecessarily benefit the publishers. “If there is any change in course, these publishers don’t take more than 15 days to get the new course published. Many schools also tie up with publishers for books outside the CBSE
syllabus in an attempt to impart better education to their students.”

Bhumika Sago, English teacher at Salwan Public School says, “Changing books every year is very important as NCERT books are mediocre. They are only meant for mugging up. Needy children can take the old books but every year good books come out which have better grammar and chapters. If we don’t change books accordingly, the system will become stagnant. That is why in private schools passing on books from seniors to juniors is not possible.”

Vice Principal of D P S Indirapuram, Sangeeta Hajela says, “I can afford to give my son new books and so I give. From my personal experience I wouldn’t like being handed down old books.” She adds that her institute has a system of collecting old books and
stationary items which are then donated to under-privileged children.

As part of Sarva Shiksha Mission, students promoted to new classes have been asked to deposit their old books as there has been a constant delay in supply of books by the publishing houses for students. The delay may be due to numerous reasons, including scale and logistical problems.

Due to this inconvenience, books are often delivered a few months after the start of the academic session in spite of all efforts to ensure their timely availability.

Keeping in mind this aspect, of private schools frequently changing their course and students being asked to purchase new books every year, NGO Goonj has launched ‘The Power of 5’ mission. Through this mission Goonj emphasises on the motto of ‘Take out at least ‘5’ things from last year’s school items’ and contribute it to the needy. These may include old, but in good condition school uniforms, belts, socks, school bags, stationary items, books, notebooks, tiffin boxes, water bottles and shoes.

This kind of an effort is also carried out individually by many and also some schools. “But whilst children in government schools don’t have books, a sincere effort in mass sharing of books can be pushed further,” says Singh.

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