CM’s Directive On Textbooks, Uniforms From Specific Vendors

CM’s Directive On Textbooks, Uniforms From Specific Vendors

Will pvt schools fall in line? Parents remain skeptical

Staff ReporterUpdated: Wednesday, April 03, 2024, 12:18 AM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Day after the Chief Minister Mohan Yadav’s direction to authorities to crackdown on private schools making students to buy stationery and uniform from select vendors, the parents remain apprehensive if the administrative action will make the private educational institutions end their arbitrary practice as it brings them financial gains.

The parents said that such orders are issued by authorities every year but they are hardly enforced. Besides, the CM’s directive comes at a time when some parents have already purchased textbooks, stationery and uniform for their wards for the new academic session, which commenced on April 1. In some schools, the new session will begin shortly.

When the Free Press spoke to a few parents in the city, they said that such practices have been going on for a long time and the parents have not been given the choice to purchase textbooks and uniforms from the open market and on at a more competitive price.

Tarachand Mehra, whose one daughter has given 10th board exam while the other passed the class 11th, said, “The school has designated one specific shop for purchasing books, uniforms, shoes, and other articles. They provide comprehensive course details and endorse this particular shop for purchasing stationery. However, every year, the prices at this shop seem to escalate. Surprisingly, even basic items like coloring books are priced exorbitantly.”

Mehra said that last year he had a heated argument with the bookstore owner over the cost of a branded bag adorned with the store’s name. “I argued that by purchasing such items, we were essentially advertising the store, yet the prices remained unreasonably high,” added Mehra.

Similarly, Ragini Shrivastav, whose daughter is in 9th grade and one has given the board exam, said, “When my daughter was in 7th grade, the school consistently directed us to purchase books from a specific shop. When we questioned this practice and suggested obtaining second-hand books from other students, the school authorities explained that the curriculum changes annually, necessitating purchases from designated shops. Additionally, I observed that the textbooks required for board exams were comparatively less expensive than those for regular classes.”

To address the escalating costs of books, the state government previously implemented the Madhya Pradesh Private School (Fee and Related Matters Regulation) Act 2017 and Rules 2020. However, compliance remains low, with only a fraction of schools adhering to the directives. Despite annual orders from the department to check the monopoly of private school operators, book publishers, and sellers, some schools persist in enforcing exclusive purchasing arrangements.

Schools fail to comply with orders

Prabodh Pandya, general secretary, Palak Mahasangh, said, “Thanks to the Chief Minister for issuing this order, however, its timing is unfortunate as the academic session has already commenced. The government has previously directed schools to adhere to the syllabus outlined in NCERT and SCERT books, and while many schools comply, private publishers continue to act independently. Despite annual orders from authorities, schools often fail to implement them”.

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