Srinagar, Jan 28: As the schools across Kashmir are scheduled to reopen in the first week of March after over three-month long winter vacation, the focus has shifted to the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (BOSE) amid apprehensions about the timely distribution of textbooks to the students.
The stakeholders, including teachers and parents, have voiced their concerns, citing their past experiences wherein the authorities in BOSE failed to ensure the timely distribution of textbooks in schools across Kashmir.
“We never receive textbooks on time which costs dearly for students. The distribution of textbooks starts in April or May and the process continues till June or July. In this process, students are deprived of the basic facilities and it defeats the purpose of education in schools,” a school teacher said wishing not to be named.
He said that they were asked to preserve a textbook bank by taking back textbooks from students of the previous session which are distributed to students promoted to the next class.
"But at times there are some updates and changes in textbooks and the students who are given previous year's books get confused with it," the teacher said.
In 2023, the schools across Kashmir reopened in March after winter vacations but the distribution of textbooks was delayed till July and August.
The school teacher said that despite the delayed distribution of textbooks, the students never receive a complete set of textbooks as some of the books never reach school for the entire academic session.
According to the official schedule notified by BOSE in 2023, the process for distributing textbooks was set to commence on April 5, 2023.
The books were expected to reach all zones across Kashmir by the last week of April or the first week of May.
However, this timeline was not met, leaving students at the receiving end.
The students were without textbooks till July.
This year, BOSE has ordered private schools to adopt BOSE-prescribed textbooks in schools from class 1st to class 12th.
The BOSE has to cater to all the schools and ensure the distribution of textbooks to all government schools and private recognised schools on time.
A BOSE official said that they take up the matter with concerned Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) to submit the requisition to get the textbooks for the schools in their respective zones.
“But we never receive the exact number of textbooks required in each zone as per the enrollment of the students. This can be the reason why all the students do not receive textbooks on time,” the official said.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Director Academics BOSE, Sudhir Singh said that the BOSE textbooks had started arriving and that they were hopeful that the books would come on time.
"We have also taken into consideration while printing textbooks that our books have to reach all government and private schools. We have planned the printing of textbooks to provide them to private schools as well," he said.
Singh said that if everything goes well, all the textbooks would reach schools on time.
“Many textbooks have already arrived. I don't think there should be any problem. The printing of textbooks is an ongoing process, and our process begins in September-October. We strive to distribute textbooks to schools early,” he said.