Hundreds of government school children gathered outside the official residence of Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely to protest the non-availability of textbooks in their schools, on Sunday.
Students, parents and teachers, led by Ashok Aggarwal of Social Jurist, an organisation fighting for the right to education, shouted slogans asking the government to improve the quality of studies in government schools.
“We have not received textbooks till now. And teachers say we will not receive them till August,” said Sahil Kumar, a Class VIII student of Government Boys Middle School, Jaffrabad. “As a result we’re not having classes,” he said.
For Mukim Ahmed, a Class X student of Rajkiya Uchattar Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Jafrabad, the sum of Rs 250 was proving inadequate to buy textbooks.“For senior classes they give us money. But books have become so expensive you can buy only a few with this much money,” said Ahmed.
Volunteers from Child Relief and You, a NGO working for child rights also joined the protest, demanding better standards of education.
“If children do not have textbooks, how will they study? It is the government’s duty to ensure that textbooks reach children and teachers are regular,” said Aggarwal.
Education Minister Chandrabhushan Kumar said that almost one-third of the books had been delivered.“Since we have moved to NCERT books, there was a delay in getting copyrights. Moreover, this time teachers will not have to get the books.
The dealers will deliver the books to the schools,” said Kumar. He added delivery would be complete by April 15. “1.25 crore books have to be printed. They should reach schools by the month’s end,” said Kumar.