Parents come from afar to return empty-handed

Nazima had travelled over 50 km from Devanere near Mamallapuram on Thursday to buy class XI textbooks for her daughter, who has been attending classes without them. When she reached the office of the Directorate of Public Education in Nungambakkam, she and many others got to see a closed counter. A notice stated that schools could buy textbooks from Tamil Nadu Textbook and Education Services Corporation godowns from June 17 and whatever was left over after that would be sold from July 15.

The school in which Nazima’s daughter studies, like many other private schools, is insisting that parents buy the textbooks. Many of them have also begun bridge courses and even regular classes for students of class XI. Parents of students are thus struggling to find textbooks.

Most government and government-aided schools are set to reopen only on June 24, after the class X marksheets are issued.

M. Meena, another parent, said that while senior students were willing to lend Tamil and English textbooks, they were reluctant to give core subject textbooks. “I came to DPI because the books were not available in shops near my house in Tondiarpet. My son has downloaded one computer science chapter online and the English teacher is taking grammar classes,” she said. Students Ranjani and Priyanka, who had come from Maraimalai Nagar, said that their school would reopen on June 24 and wondered how they would manage since the notice said textbooks would be available for sale after 15 July at DPI.

Some principals of Matriculation schools said that they had started classes early as class XI portions are extensive. “Our students have been complaining that they are not able to buy textbooks. We buy students textbooks from the Corporation for classes I to X, but those for XI and XII are usually widely available. If need arises, we will buy them too for our students,” said a principal. A few other schools too said they were considering purchasing books for the students.

An official from the Corporation said that schools can place indents with the Corporation. “Supplying to schools and students is our first priority. It is only after that will textbooks be available in emporiums for sale. Otherwise, outsiders and those appearing for competitive exams end up buying books in bulk,” the official said. Textbook content can be viewed at http://www.textbooksonline.