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Textbooks Shortage

April 17, 2024

The New Education Policy (NEP) was introduced with an aim to transform the educational system in the country. In this regard, the J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) is supposed to prepare books in line with the NEP to help the students amidst the evolving education scenario in the country. Despite opposition from some quarters, the directive was welcomed by many as the BOSE books are priced at around one-third the cost of the books published by the private publishers. This move was especially aimed at putting to a halt the practice of some schools forcing the parents to purchase the books from the private players to earn profits. The parents can even file complaints against the school administration, and for this, the Board has constituted a separate committee for CBSE and JK Board schools in every district of Jammu and Kashmir. However, in the midst of the ongoing discourse surrounding the implementation of a unified curriculum across educational institutions in Jammu and Kashmir, the unavailability of textbooks prescribed by the J&K Board of School Education is bothering both parents and school administrations. As the new academic year commenced on April 1, this shortage reported for few classes not only bewilders parents but also raises pertinent questions about the preparedness of BOSE to cater to the educational needs of students effectively. The predicament facing parents from various districts across Kashmir is disconcerting, with many expressing frustration over the inability to procure textbooks mandated by the J&K Board. A statement issued by a parents’ association underscores the failure of BOSE to provide books in a timely manner. They assert that such delays not only disrupt academic schedules but also subject students, parents, and schools to undue pressure. Urging the administration to address the ground realities, the association calls for a reevaluation of decisions that cannot be implemented effectively, advocating for collaborative efforts to find viable solutions. Previously, BOSE championed the adoption of a unified curriculum across government and private schools, emphasizing the use of BOSE-prescribed books by students in all classes. However, the current dearth of textbooks underscores a significant disparity between policy objectives and practical implementation. Booksellers attribute the shortage to inadequate supply from the J&K Board, exacerbating the challenges faced by students and parents. Amid the crisis, the Director of School Education Kashmir had earlier issued directives to private schools, stressing that additional books should only be prescribed with parental consent. This measure aims to alleviate the burden on students and parents while ensuring adherence to educational standards. Nevertheless, the crux of the issue lies in the prompt availability of textbooks in the market. It is imperative for concerned authorities to address this issue urgently to prevent further disruption to the academic calendar. The government must initiate an inquiry into the root causes of the book shortage, holding accountable any officials responsible for the lapse. Swift and decisive action under the law is necessary to rectify the situation and restore confidence among the parents.

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