‘Commission bargain’ causes book shortage

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA

May 2, 2014-

Shortage of textbooks have become an all too familiar occurrence for the students of public schools in the country. This year, however, the students who go to private schools in Parsa district are also going through textbook shortage.

Parents blame the unresolved commission bargain between schools and publishing houses for the shortage of books. They say private schools pick publishers based on the amount of commission the latter are willing to pay for using their books, a method completely different from public schools where there is only one government authorised book distributor.

“Under the system adopted by private schools, parents are compelled to purchase five books from one bookstore, three from another and so on. And these books aren’t even from the same publication ,” says Amar Gautam, the district chairperson of the Parents Association.

There is a shortage of books on almost every subject and every grade in Parsa right now. Some parents claim it is the worst shortage they have ever faced in years.  Although regulation dictates that textbooks from a certain publisher should be used for a minimum three years, private schools in the district are reportedly violating the rule, changing publishers and textbooks every year.     

“I don’t know how our children could learn under such circumstance,” says Lallan Tiwari, a parent from Birgunj. He says he has scoured all the bookstores in the town to buy books for his children, but to no avail.

Jatashankar Yadav, district chairperson of Booksellers and Stationers Association, says the tendency of private schools to change textbooks every year is the root of the problem. “Parents are being forced by the schools to return the books, citing change in booklist. Some private schools have asked the parents to buy textbooks from nine different publishers. How are we supposed to have all those books from these publications.”   

Meanwhile, Imamudhhin Ahmed, district chairperson of Private and Boarding School’s Organisation Nepal, blames the publishers sending revised version of same book every year for the problem. “The central authority should take the initiative to to resolve this problem,” he says.     

Published: 03-05-2014 08:46

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