Five months into the academic session, primary school students in Patran block still do not have textbooks that are supposed to have been provided to them for free by the education department.
Under the right to education act, the state government had decided to give free textbooks to students till Class 8. In the current situation, students of primary classes come to school everyday, but cannot be taught much as textbooks are unavailable. In many schools, syllabi of several subjects have not begun as even teachers do not have the textbooks. Worst hit are school in Khang, Noorpura Gulahar, Bhootgarh, Kalaerbheni, Mauliwala, Khanewal, Rampur Dugal and Barat.
"We have no option but to teach only the basic topics in each subject," a teacher said on condition of anonymity. "In most subjects, not a single chapter has been taught. What will add to students' worries is that the first terminal examination is scheduled for the last week of September."
Class 5 students have no textbooks at all. In Class 4, the education department has provided textbooks only in English and environment subjects, while in Class 3 only textbooks of mathematics and Punjabi are available.
Another teacher said a letter had been written to the higher authorities and they were also informed verbally about the dearth of textbooks, but nothing happened. "The authorities concerned sought a list of required textbooks two times in the past five months," the teacher said. "The department should have provided textbooks before the start of the session."
At several schools, teachers have asked students of lower classes to borrow books from senior students. "Several students have bought guides and help-books to prepare for monthly tests," said a teacher.
However, district education officer Balbir Kaur is unaware of the problem. "It is shocking that many schools are still deprived of textbooks five months after the start of the academic session," she said. "Earlier too, we received a compliant from the same block, but at that time the branch concerned was directed to provide books immediately. I will look into the matter at the earliest."