Pre-university students have been sitting idle in most colleges for a month. The reason: They have no textbooks though classes for pre-university courses for the 2019-20 academic year resumed on May 20.
Though some colleges are managing with previous year’s textbooks, others are taking no risk since there are changes in this year’s textbooks.
According to information from the department of pre-university education, textbooks were supposed to have been printed and released to markets by the end of March, but this year, even in mid-June, no textbooks have reached the market.
Sathyanarayana Murthy, former president of the Karnataka Text Books Sellers’ Association, who also runs a book store on Avenue Road in Bengaluru, said, “Hundreds of parents and students are approaching us for textbooks and we are tired of answering them.
Since second year PU students start studying soon after the announcement of the first-year examinations, they will need textbooks at least by the end of March.”
“When we checked their e-tender document, they had called for tenders on April 27. Bids were opened on May 8 and financial bidding concluded on May 14. Within three days of this process, the department had issued work orders and textbooks were expected to be in the market latest by the end of May. It’s mid-June and there is no sign of books. Officials don’t respond to our communication,” says Murthy.
P C Jaffer, director, pre-university education department said, “Textbook printing process is delayed due to the model code of conduct which was in place during the Lok Sabha elections. We will ensure all textbooks are available by the next 10 days.”
Department officials also attributed the delay to some corrections in the previous year’s textbooks. However, sources in the department told DH that the delay was because of the confusion over who will print the books. “NCERT insisted that the department deposit a certain amount for printing. After several communications, the government decided to print textbooks through the PUE department,” explained an official source.
Jaffer said a total of 44 titles need to be printed. This year, the department itself has called tenders and the Karnataka Text Books Society has called distributors to register. After this, books will hit the market.
Both government and private PU colleges across the state are struggling to manage for the past 20 days without textbooks. Thimmaiah Purle, president of Karnataka Pre University College Teachers’ Association said, “Some colleges are managing with previous year’s textbooks, and some who do not have access to old textbooks are simply forcing students to sit in the classroom. Due to the delay, students will be affected and teachers will not be able to complete their portions on time.”