Private schools in Karnataka were in for a shock, as the textbooks that schools procured for students has seen a sudden hike of 20-22%.
According to the Associated Managements of English Medium Schools in Karnataka (KAMS), schools were told to pay one price when they placed the order for books with the Karnataka Textbook Society. Based on this figure, schools collected money from parents for the books for the upcoming academic year. However, when it was time to pay, schools noticed that the amount they had to pay was about 20% higher than they were initially informed.
KAMS submitted a complaint to the Commissioner of the Department of Public Instruction to roll back the price and deliver the books on time, failing which legal action could be taken.
“At this point of time your Department of Text Book Society who are also private body for no profit registered under the society act has now published new rate list without earlier intimations, this now has caused huge hike of price ranging between 20 % plus,” the complaint states.
As per the complaint, it asks on what basis the prices have been hiked, as the price of paper has remained the same. It also states that the books aren’t being delivered on time, and despite this prices have been hiked.
School managements have an indent for books needed for the next academic year in December-January, and place an order with the Text Book department accordingly. Private schools buy these books, while it is given for free to government schools. This process now takes place online, and schools ask parents to pay them the fee for the books, which schools then pay online in order to procure them. KAMS says that the price increased by 20% when it was time to pay, whereas parents had paid the lower figure.
“When the payments were supposed to be made, we found that there were there was a 20+% rise. Whatever it is, they have not told us and this has happened within two months,” says Shashi Kumar, principal of Blossoms School and general secretary of KAMS, who also filed the complaint.
For Class 1, the prices of some books were not raised, some were raised by Rs 1, and some by as much as Rs 10.
“Either roll back or come out in public saying we have raised. Because of these people, we will be seen as the culprits. They (parents) think that we have raised.”
Shashi Kumar says that the perception is that private schools are the one who take money, but that it was the government’s doing and not theirs.
HN Gopalkrishna, Director of the Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT) told the New Indian Express that a statement on the price hike would be shared on Tuesday, and that price revision is an annual exercise. "The 20 per cent increase is only for a few books which are printed fewer in numbers. So far, 80 per cent of the orders are printed and 60 per cent is already given out. The distribution will be completed in a week’s time,” he said.