Private unaided schools are the worst hit

The State Government's decision to distribute textbooks to schools on its own from this year to prevent malpractices by private distributors appears to have worsened the problem.

The move, which was aimed at reducing the cost of textbooks by eliminating the middleman's commission, has boomeranged with lakhs of students still to receive textbooks.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that the delay in supply was on account of a delay in receipt of payments from private aided and unaided schools.

But figures show that textbooks have not reached many institutions that were supposed to get them free of cost. As on Thursday, the government and aided schools in the district were faced with a shortage of 70,000 textbooks.

Official statistics also reveal that private schools in the district had made payments for 5,45,779 textbooks by the first week of June. But they are yet to receive 1,10,384 books. “We made full payment in February itself,” said Sister Marie Lucy, Principal of St. Mary's School in Falnir.

The total shortage of textbooks in the district is 1,81,000. While officials stress that this is a Statewide problem, they concede that Dakshina Kannada and Udupi are the worst affected.

Figures given by the Department of Public Instruction reveal that private unaided schools are the worst hit with a shortage of 1,10,384 books.

The Government is yet to supply over 8,000 textbooks to 10th standard students in private schools across Dakshina Kannada.

“We can somehow manage other subjects. But mathematics and science are critical subjects,” said Sister Mary Lucy. Over 2,000 science and 1,500 mathematics texts for the 10th standard are yet to arrive.

“Such a problem has never been witnessed before,” said Lakshmisha Prabhu (52), a government school teacher.

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