Text books prescribed by private schools cost a fortune
Parents resent as government fails to regulate
Srinagar: The state administration has failed to put a control on the nexus between the private schools and publishers who are fleecing parents by selling textbook and notebooks at exorbitant prices. The government’s failure has resulted in massive public outrage.
On an average, the textbooks of Class 6th costs Rs 2000 to Rs 3000, while at the same time the textbooks being prescribed by JK Board of School Education (BOSE) in government schools are priced only Rs 300 to 400.
“The huge discrepancy in prices of textbooks in government and private schools reveals the murky business of the privately-owned institutions,” an official in the education department said.
He said the private schools which include valley’s leading missionary schools charge commission of around 40 to 60 percent on books being sold by them in the school premises or at the designated bookshops.
“This mafia has been going on for years and it is a practice which is beneficial for both publishers and private schools but it is back breaking for the common people,” said a parent from Soura here.
Almost all the schools in Kashmir, who claim to be operating on no-profit-no-loss basis, also prescribe books which are different from other schools. “Due to this there is a huge margin for them being provided by the publishers,” the official said.
According to sources, the prices are fixed by the publishers and private schools as per their own will and without any control from the government.
“A textbook of first standard whose cost could not be more than Rs 40 is being sold at Rs 250 with both publisher and school management sharing the undue profits,” sources said.
The skyrocketing prices of textbooks are giving tough time to the parents who are finding it difficult to purchase new books for their wards.
Officials in JKBOSE said the private schools in Kashmir up to grade 8th are prescribing books chosen by them.
“There is no uniformity as every private school has its own set of textbooks being prescribed to the wards which results in murky business of commission,” the official said.
Director school Education Kashmir G N Itoo meanwhile said the department will issue instructions to private schools to stop illegal profiteering by selling books at exorbitant rates.
“We will constitute inspection teams and visit schools to check this illegal practice,” he said.