Pre-university textbooks likely to be delayed this year

Even as private tutorials have started classes for second PUC, the students have no choice but to rely on second-hand textbooks as the new ones have not hit the market yet.

Caught in a tussle between the National Council of Educational Research and Training and the Department of Public Instruction, the pre-university course students are struggling to grab copies of their textbooks. 

P C Jaffer, former commissioner, Department of Public Instruction, said that unlike earlier, NCERT asked the department to make a prepayment failing which they will be unable to supply books. However, as the department does not have funds set aside for this purpose and it does not distribute the textbooks free of cost. It has to await money generation through sales for paying the NCERT. 

When communications failed, the department sought to take the help of private printers. By then, the election code of conduct was in place which lead to a further delay. 

Even as private tutorials have started classes for second PU, the students have no choice but to rely on second-hand textbooks as the new ones have not hit the market yet.

Sources in the Department of Pre-university Education and publishers said that even the tenders have not been called for printing the fresh set of textbooks for the next academic year.

With about two months for the classes to commence, the printers have expressed apprehensions whether the textbooks will reach the students on time. Both Commerce and Science Students are being prescribed NCERT textbooks.

According to sources, the NCERT, in a written communication had informed the department that they would be unable to supply textbooks in such large quantities and that the state will have to make its own arrangements.

“The department was informed that they will only be able to supply textbooks to a few NCERT dealers. Now, the state is that they pay a royalty to NCERT and ask private players here to start printing. Tenders have not even been called for this process,” said the sources.

The printers said that even if tenders were called, they were skeptical of delivering textbooks before the commencement of classes. “Initial few weeks were lost in communication with the NCERT. Officials are to be blamed. Even as they were aware that with the election code of conduct will be underway, they were not quick,” said a printer. Officials in the PU department were unavailable for a reaction.

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