K’taka schoolgoers struggle sans textbooks; e-copies a waste without computers

With a hope to reduce the burden on students, the Karnataka Textbook Society uploaded few subject books online. However, not many government schools and students have computer access. Representative purpose only. Photo: Pixabay.

Even three weeks after the commencement of the academic year 2019-20, students in many schools and pre-university colleges in Karnataka are struggling without textbooks.

In districts like Mangaluru, Dharwad and Koppal, not even 50 per cent of the required textbooks have been distributed so far. There were delays even during the last two academic years due to shortage of papers and wrong printing.

With a hope to reduce the burden on students, the Karnataka Textbook Society uploaded a few subject books online. However, not many government schools and students have computer access and therefore find it difficult to use the e-copies.

Basavaraj Gurikar, president, Karnataka State Government Primary School Teachers’ Association said, while the schools applied for textbooks through online process as early as February, many were yet to receive the books.

“In Dharwad, at least 50 per cent of the schools do not have enough textbooks. What is the point of giving e-textbooks when the officials know that many schools lack computer labs,” Gurikar said.

Sudarshan KR, a lecturer in Sarojini Madhusudan Kushe PU College, Mangaluru said the situation was no different in his district.

Of the 81,346 schools in Karnataka, about 73 per cent of the schools did not have computer facility, according to Nammashale, a Karnataka education department-managed website.

Although some colleges and schools are managing with previous year’s textbooks, many say they might miss out on new additions or changes in the current year’s textbooks, if they don’t get them soon.

When contacted, Rangaiah, deputy director of Karnataka Textbook Society said there has been delay in distribution of textbooks because the schools hadn’t sent the indent (for the books) on time. “Ninety five per cent of the orders received are printed. But we will deliver the books within a week,” Rangaiah said.

Meanwhile, after an eight month delay the Karnataka government has finally allocated the primary and secondary education portfolio. Gubbi legislator S R Srinivas was given charge of the ministry on June 24.