The admission season is on and parents are busy purchasing new books and stationery for children. But the uncontrolled prices of books and stationery items being charged by private schools at special counters have made the parents hot under the collar.
At almost all schools affiliated to the CBSE, books are being sold for Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500 for all classes. Not only this, the parents are annoyed with schools changing publishers every year which leaves no option of using second-hand books.
Also, the schools, just to increase the bill are prescribing ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unwanted’ books and stationery like colour boxes, scrap books, name slips, Atlas and maps.
The parents lament the fact that there is no authority to check the private schools which are increasing prices of books every year.
Talking to Newsline, Meena Kankhal, who went to purchase books of class I for her son from Tagore Public School but came back empty-handed, said, “My husband is a school peon. We cannot afford a set of books worth Rs 2,500 for class I. Instead of providing concession to poor students, they are charging hefty prices for books and stationery.”
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The books for classes VI, VII and VIII are too being sold for Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000. At some schools, the rate of books for classes I, II, III, IV and V is even higher than books of classes VI to VIII. Demanding a uniformity, Rekha Kharbanda, who got books of class II for Rs 2,200 from BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, said: “There is no check and no uniformity. Schools are charging whatever they want.”
Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, has increased prices of book sets for classes I and II as it has moved to private publishers from NCERT books this year. DAV Public School, BRS Nagar, is too charging as high as Rs 2,600 for books of classes II, III, IV and V.
Another parent, Seema Joshi, who got class VI books for Rs 1,800 from KVM, said, “Every year this is getting worse. Poor kids cannot use second-hand books as publishers are changed.”
Some schools were even forcing students to buy stationery including notebooks from school, added a parent requesting anonymity.
However, Navita Puri, principal, KVM, Civil Lines, told Newsline, “Cost of paper is increasing, so is the price of books. We do not earn any profits but sell books at a rate given to us by publishers. We too are helpless in this. We have moved from NCERT books to private ones for primary classes as NCERT books are now lagging behind and lack the standard we adhere to.”
Rajesh Rudra, president of Association of Private Unaided Schools of Punjab, said, “We do not get any help from the government to run private schools. It has become too difficult to manage expenses but still we try our best to see affordability factor for all parents before deciding books and publishers.”