Since April, seven-year-old Gaurav has been going to school, run by North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), without notebooks to write in. If he has to write, he finds empty spaces inside his textbooks. Gaurav’s father, a rickshaw driver, has told him that next week he will buy him one notebook. Gaurav’s friend Arun is lucky, but only marginally — his father can afford to buy him two notebooks.
Gaurav is one of almost six lakh children studying in schools run by the North civic body and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), who have been without notebooks even after the summer vacation ended. As per Article 8 of the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, primary schools run by the corporation are mandated to provide books, notebooks and stationery to all children.
The academic session began in April.This year, only textbooks have been provided, while notebooks are still missing. For uniform and school bags, the corporation has been transferring funds directly to the bank accounts of parents.
“How will the child learn if he doesn’t write? I know he is supposed to get free notebooks, but how long will he wait? I could afford to buy two notebooks for my child, so I did,” said Arun’s father Rajendra, who lives in Jahangirpuri.
Each child from nursery to Class II is provided four notebooks, while children from Class III to V get six notebooks each. Till Class II, notebooks provided are for English, math, Hindi and drawing. From Class III onwards, two additional notebooks are provided for social science and science.
Ajay Gupta, who teaches at a North Corporation school, said, “Children, whose parents can afford to buy notebooks come to school with one. But there are many who come just with their books. What can we teachers do? We have not even got salaries for May and June.” Last year, too, schools in the North Corporation received textbooks after August 15.
At East Corporation schools, notebooks arrived even later.In fact, even books were not delivered to these schools on time last year. In 2016, following a plea by two parents who moved the Delhi High Court over unavailability of writing material for their child, the East Corporation had blamed the delay to changes in the tendering process.
An official from the North Corporation acknowledged the problem and blamed different authorities involved in the process. “Files are moved around due to objections made by different authorities. Due to this, the process gets delayed,”he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines