It's been almost three weeks since the start of the new academic session in government schools, but the Punjab education department is yet to provide textbooks to students of several classes in Patiala district.
Despite the unavailability of books, the department has instructed teachers to conduct the monthly test of students for primary and upper primary levels from Wednesday.
The state government, under the purview of the Right To Education (RTE), has decided to give free textbooks to primary and upper-primary students till Class 8.
No textbook has been provided to students of classes 3 to 5 in primary schools in the villages of Chajjupat, Kotkalan, Hassanpur, Boran, Khurd, Faizgarh, Gurditpura, and Doda in the Nabha block of the district.
Only Class-2 students have received textbooks of Punjabi and English, while in some schools, English and environment books are available.
"Ever since the start of the new academic session, many teachers have been taking classes without textbooks. Now, the education department has announced the monthly test. The government should provide textbooks before the start of the session," said the principal of a primary school, requesting anonymity.
He said they had written to the higher authorities about the state of affairs, but to no avail. In the upper primary level, textbooks of classes 6 and 7 were provided in almost every school of the district two days ago, but none of Class 8 is available so far.
In many schools, teachers have asked students to borrow books from seniors. "Many students have bought guides and help books to prepare for the monthly test," a teacher said.
When contacted, district education officer (primary and secondary) Balbir Kaur said textbooks had been sent to most of the schools. She said she had held a meeting on the issue on Monday and instructed officials to provide textbooks of all classes in the rest of the schools.
"The textbooks will be sent to the remaining schools very soon. I have also written to the higher authorities to provide out-of-stock textbooks of a few subjects at the earliest," she said.