In a move aimed at reducing the academic burden of students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked affiliated schools to not coerce parents and schoolchildren to purchase additional books printed by private publishers.
CBSE schools are supposed to follow the syllabi prescribed by the National Council of Educational Research and Technology (NCERT) up to Class 8 and the CBSE from Classes 9 to 12. But the board has received complaints from parents that schools are compelling children to purchase and use books printed by publishers other than NCERT.
Prescribing too many textbooks and forcing parents to buy them is an unhealthy practice that is educationally unsound, the board told its 14,000 affiliated schools in the country.
“This practice of the schools is jeopardising the proper teaching learning activities of the schools and pressurising students,” stated a circular issued by T Sudarshan Rao, joint secretary and in-charge of academics and training, on Monday.
City parents said that the CBSE should take stringent action against schools for selling or endorsing private textbooks.
“In my son’s school, there are nearly three textbooks for English and science each,” said a parent from Navi Mumbai on the condition of anonymity. “These books are not recognised by the government and cost around Rs300 per book. The school has made the books compulsory.”
However, city schools said that they are forced to prescribe books by private publishers as NCERT books do not reach them in time.
“We have no choice but to prescribe private books so that children have textbooks in their hands when the school begins,” said Ranjna Jangra, principal, Birla School, Kalyan.
Principals also said that NCERT does not publish books below Class 5.
“There are no NCERT textbooks for Classes 1 to 4, so we have to rely on private publishers for those,” said Raj Aloni, principal, Ram Sheth Thakur Public School, Kharghar. “The NCERT books available for higher classes are also in a bad condition, frayed and torn as they do not have depots in the city.”