Almost 15 days into the new academic session in the government schools, students across the state are yet to get the entire set of promised free textbooks.
Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the department must supply the entire set to schools for classes up to 8. The schools, so far, have received only the books of five subjects (mathematics, Punjabi, Hindi, computers and physical education). For Classes 3 to 5, no book has reached many schools in Malerkotla, Mandi Ahemadgarh and Amargarh blocks.
At the upper primary level, not a single book has reached the students of Class 8. Only computers, Hindi and physical education books have been sent out to Classes 6 and 7 but in most schools, only the Hindi textbook of Class 6 has been distributed.
Before the academic session, the education department had stated that it would make the textbooks available at all centres before April 1. “Since the opening of the session, teachers are working without any textbook to refer to, and already are being asked to assess students. The government should have arranged for the books before the session,” said the head of primary school, requesting anonymity to avoid backlash.
At many schools, teachers have asked children to borrow last year's books from older students to carry on with the lessons. “The syllabus of many subjects must have changed and last year's books will not give students any idea of it,” said a teacher.
District education officer (primary) Sher Singh said textbooks of five subjects had reached all schools at least in Patiala. “We have taken up the matter with the director general of school education, who has agreed to make the entire set available by April 25.”