Trucks loaded with new elementary school textbooks were seen parked outside many government primary schools in Gurgaon, a little over two weeks ago — at a time when first half of the academic year is over. The reason, district school authorities said, was a problem with the tender given to a state “printing press” which delayed printing of the books.
By the end of the first term, children from over 500 schools in Gurgaon and surrounding areas did not have textbooks. Sudha Arora, Headmistress (Elementary), Islampur government school, said, “Delay in sending elementary textbooks has become a yearly norm. Usually, we receive the books by June. But this year, textbooks for Classes I and VI were sent in the first week of October while Classes VII to VIII still are still without books.”
Sunita, a teacher in Ghamoj government primary school, said, “We are still awaiting books for the Class VIII. This year, the number of books supplied to each school varied. There were not enough textbooks to cover all students.”
So just how did the schools manage to teach the children?
Meena, a teacher in Nathupur government school, said, “We were given a Class Readiness Programme (CRP) module by SCERT, where schoolchildren were taught general topics such as the process of photosynthesis. The CRP was prepared till June but had to be stretched till August.”
Other teachers said that many borrowed books from senior students. “Teachers took notes from old textbooks. We would study from notes prepared from oral class presentation and whatever our teachers wrote on the boards” Shruti, a Class V student of Jharsa primary school, said.
When the principals met district officers to discuss the issue, they were given assurances, with the authorities calling the delay a pan-Haryana phenomenon. Director of State Council for Education, Research and Training (SCERT), Sneh Lata said, “SCERT only deals with the content of textbooks. Our content was sent to Chandigarh in October last year. We coordinated with schools over the CRP module till the books arrived. The printing of books is taken care by the Bhiwani board — for Haryana.”
Prem Lata, District Elementary