No uniformity in selling textbooks under uniform syllabus
The State Government has implemented uniform syllabus in schools but there does not seem to be any uniformity in the sale of textbooks printed by Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation (TNTC) as retailers in Pudhu Mandapam area here have been selling the books at inflated prices.
While a 256-page English textbook meant for Class XI costs only Rs.18 as per the price printed on the second page of the book, the retailers are selling it for Rs.45 by affixing a stamp on the first page, which claims that the increased price is inclusive of book binding charges.
Similarly, Physics textbook meant for Class XI, which is priced at Rs.20, is being sold at Rs.40 and the Rs.25 Computer Science book is being sold for Rs.45. The cover pages of all these books have been cut out and pasted on low-quality cardboards bound to the book with strips of canvas cloth.
S.Jeyalakshmi, an aspirant to the job of government teacher, said the inflated prices were targeted more at people like her than the school students, because the books were distributed free of cost to government school students and procured directly from the TNTC’s regional office by private schools.
Clearing Teacher’s Eligibility Test (TET) has been made mandatory for all teachers in service as well as aspirants under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
The Teachers Recruitment Board has scheduled the test in August.
“A rumour has been spread among the applicants that the question papers for the TET are being framed only on the basis of the TNTC textbooks. Hence, there is a rush among teacher aspirants to grab the copies, leading to great demand in the retail market,” she added.
Echoing her view, R.Geetha, another aspirant, said the TNTC distributed textbooks in bulk to educational institutions on payment of demand draft.
It did not sell them in retail to individual purchasers, thereby enabling the retail sellers to exploit the gullible people.
When contacted, S.Ayyadurai, Regional Officer in-charge of the TNTC depot here, said it was illegal on the part of retailers to sell textbooks at inflated prices.
“Binding a book or not binding it is the choice of purchasers. Retailers cannot force such a thing upon them,” he said.
The TNTC gave a discount of 9.5 per cent to retailers as against five per cent given to schools.
“The additional discount of 4.5 per cent to retailers is meant to be their profit since the rest might be spent towards transportation and handling charges. They cannot make more money than this,” he added.
Urging the purchasers to insist on bills, he promised to initiate action if the purchasers lodged a complaint with him along with the copy of the bill or receipt issued by booksellers.