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Govt bans pass books, experts question efficacy

jaipur Updated: Mar 15, 2018 21:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan News

School girls go through course material during examinations in Ajmer.(HT File)

The state education department has issued an order prohibiting the use of pass books, or guide books, in government schools. In the order, issued Tuesday, the department said it was committed to develop among students a “keen understanding of subjects and their basic concepts, and pass books are adverse to these goals”.

According to the stakeholders, the use of pass books is rampant in the state with a vast majority of students using them. Experts are now asking how effective the government order would be in wiping out a deeply entrenched culture.

Ramesh Chand Gupta, owner of a book store in Chaura Rasta area, said that about 80% of the students buy pass books. Another book store owner said that the percentage was even higher. “In higher classes — 10, 11 and 12 —almost all the students purchase pass books,” said Rajesh Khandelwal, owner of Khandelwal Stationers, Pratap Nagar.

The teachers and school principals, welcomed the order. “When I joined this school two years ago, students were often seen with pass books in class rooms. Gradually we brought down their usage but elsewhere they are used widely,” said Surendra Dudi, principal of a government school in Jhunjhunu’s Hameeri Kala.

Pass books only focus on helping the students clear the exam and relegate the learning part, basic concepts, context, themes, activities, etc to the sidelines, he said. “In addition, the pass books cost money whereas the textbooks are available to students free of cost. Kids from poorer section couldn’t afford the guides,” Dudi said.

He added that often the teachers used to recommend the pass books. “The implementation of order will require effort from teachers. If they explain the topics well, the students won’t have to opt for pass books,” he said.

Another school principal, Paramjeet Kaur, said that the information in pass books was often wrong. “The pass books are like crutches and their use affects the creative development of students,” said Kaur, principal of government school in Jaipur’s Laxman Dungri.

According to some, the sellers of pass books were till now visiting schools and doling out sample copies. “This will now stop,” said Sunita, principal of government school in Nagaur.

Educationists, however, say that the textbooks on their own do not form meaningful independently-readable learning material for students. “The textbooks of a class are generally found to be of a difficulty level one or two notch higher than the required level. The students are unable to comprehend the books on their own, as has been proved by several learning surveys,” said Kul Bhushan Kothari of Pratham, an NGO working in the education sector.

He added that the government has made various efforts in the past to curb the use of pass books but has been unsuccessful. “The government urges guardians against private tuitions, government doctors against private practice, but fails to enforce them. Same is the case with use of pass books,” said Kothari.

First Published: Mar 15, 2018 21:25 IST