Tripura’s BJP-IPFT Government would distribute free textbooks, translated from NCERT curriculum, to 14,000 students studying in private Bengali medium schools of the state, education minister Ratan Lal Nath said. Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, Nath said the decision was taken to aid students in 73 private Bengali medium schools who face troubles due to COVID-19 lockdown situation.
Tripura has a demand of 25,37,107 textbooks between class 1 and class 8 in government and government-aided schools.
The state government had placed an order for 26,25,865 books this year, out of which 25,39,715 were received. The government has distributed nearly 25 lakh books to public schools through inspectors of schools; around 37,000 unit are pending distribution.
On why the extra units were ordered, the minister explained these are purchased by people who have difficulty finding books.
“We got NCERT textbooks translated into Bengali from class 1-12 by assigning our teachers to the job after our government assumed office. Usually, these books are purchased by private Bengali medium schools. We have decided to give these for free this year due to coronavirus lockdown situation”, the minister informed.
He added that many of these school authorities requested the state government to provide books during lockdown crises, following which the decision was taken.
Some of these schools, which already purchased textbooks from the government, would be paid back through State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Nath said.
On why private English medium schools are not being extended the same courtesy, the education minister said many of them have adopted NCERT curriculum but do not use textbooks prescribed by them, rendering Tripura’s books redundant.
He later wrote in a post on his Facebook page, “In respect to the current Covid-19 pandemic, our government has decided to provide free books to all Bengali medium privately run schools (class 1 to 8). There are approximately 73 schools with 14000 students. An estimated cost of Rs 60 lakh would be born by our government regarding this”.
Tripura currently has 4,398 government and government-aided schools apart from 335 private schools. Nearly 5 lakh students study in these schools across the state.