The Karnataka government has come up with an ‘innovative’ new plan for distributing textbooks to students of state syllabus schools.
With the government struggling with shortages in raw materials for printing textbooks for Classes I to 10 for the 2017-18 academic year, the Education department has decided to split all textbooks into two.
The Education Department has decided to print two textbooks for each subject, and distribute them in two instalments.
“We could not have waited to procure all the raw materials and then go ahead with the printing, as it would have delayed the process. Over six crore textbooks have to be printed. Hence, we decided to go ahead with the printing in two parts,” Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Tanveer Sait, told mediapersons.
The first batch of books will contain the portion of the syllabus to be taught between June and September, while the second part will contain portions scheduled to be taught between November and March.
“The decision was made so that we can also reduce the weight of the textbooks. This will help reduce it by two to three kg. By June end, the materials for the second batch of books will be procured,” Sait added.
Managing Director of Karnataka Textbooks Society, Nagendra Kumar, said that the splitting of textbooks into two will help bring the weight carried by students by almost 50%. He, however, said that the price for two textbooks will remain almost the same as a single combined book.
“A textbook usually has 100 to 150 pages, and sometimes it goes up to 300, if it is a Mathematics or Science textbook. The bindings also add extra weight to the already heavy books. This makes the weight of the book around 250gm on an average. Most schools have seven-period timetables. This means that the student will be carrying around 7kg, including the weight of notebooks and other items,” Nagendra Kumar added.
A senior official in the Textbook Society, however, said that the printers are worried about the additional cost of printing double the number of textbooks, as the total budget is still fixed at Rs 165 crore for printing.
“Around 511 textbooks are printed in eight languages. This time, the number is going to double. The printers have said that it would not be economically feasible for them. The cost has escalated as raw materials like pulp are not available easily due to the drought,” he added. However, he said, this was a minor issue, and the government is in talks with printers to settle it.