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Schools struggle as textbook shortage persists

BOSE fails to deliver, academics hit
04:48 AM May 31, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
schools struggle as textbook shortage persists
Representational Image (File GK)

Srinagar, May 30: Despite the passage of over two months since the commencement of the new academic session, schools across Kashmir are grappling with a severe shortage of textbooks, leaving students in a state of academic limbo.


The ongoing crisis has severely disrupted the educational process, raising concerns among parents, educators, and students alike.


Reports pouring in from various districts revealed that the J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) has failed to deliver a complete set of textbooks for various classes, which has left the students at the receiving end.


The dearth of textbooks has created chaos and confusion in schools given the inordinate delay in receiving a complete set of textbooks.


Besides government schools, the academics in private schools have also been hit following the government's instructions to adopt the BOSE-prescribed textbooks for all classes in private schools.


The move has put the BOSE and the School Education Department (SED) under severe criticism for its failure to deliver on the ground.


The parents have expressed anger over the situation while highlighting the adverse impact on the education of the children.


“My two children are studying in private schools in Srinagar district. The elder one is in class 6th and the younger one is in class 1st primary. Both have not received a complete set of textbooks as some of the books are not available in the market,” said Muhammad Faisal, a parent from Srinagar.

The parents questioned the BOSE for its incompetency saying that the organisation should have not taken responsibility if it was not in a position to deliver on the ground.

“During previous years, the problem was only faced by students in government schools due to delayed distribution of textbooks. However, this year, the students of private schools too are suffering as the BOSE textbooks are not available in the market,” Faisal said.

The teachers, particularly those in the government schools, expressed their helplessness saying that they were struggling to deliver lessons without the required resources.

“We are trying our best to teach with whatever material is available. The absence of textbooks is making it difficult to conduct regular classes. Two months have passed since the academic session started but the BOSE failed to provide a complete set of textbooks," said a teacher, posted in the Baramulla district, wishing not to be named.

The teachers in Baramulla district said that the students of kindergartens and 1st and 2nd primary classes had not received the textbooks yet.

The situation is prevailing in schools at a time when the government is making claims of strengthening the primary section of the schools.

“The BOSE has proved its inefficiency and lack of preparedness. This is not the first time we have been facing such an issue. Every year, there is a delay in the distribution of textbooks. But nobody from the department takes the matter seriously,” another teacher said.

A teacher from Kupwara district said that the majority of schools had not yet received Kashmiri, Mathematics, and English textbooks for class 1st primary while the students from 3rd primary to 8th class have not received textbooks of Kashmiri and EVS subjects.

“The textbook of Mathematics for class 6th and Urdu for class 8th is also pending,” the teacher said.

This has put the parents in a troubling situation as their kids are without textbooks.

The shortage persists despite assurances from the authorities about the timely distribution of textbooks in schools.

Earlier, Chairman BOSE Parikshat Singh Manhas said that the process for lifting of textbooks began on March 27, 2024, for Shopian and Srinagar districts, followed by other districts.

However, the situation in government and private schools paints a different picture as students are without textbooks.

Amid the delay in the distribution of textbooks, the Administrative Secretary School Education Department (SED), Piyush Singla on May 29 convened a meeting with the officers of the department and instructed all the CEOs that the textbooks should reach all the schools in the shortest time.

“The Administrative Secretary fixed a deadline for the delivery of textbooks in all schools to ensure that academics do not suffer,” said an official, privy to the meeting.