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Book banks for state cradles

- JEPC plans equipped libraries in 40000 middle schools

Flipping through superhero tales between classes will no longer be a distant dream for students of 40,000 state-run middle schools.

Just like their counterparts in private schools, they will soon get their own libraries and cultivate the reading habit, thanks to a proposed scheme of the Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC).

JEPC, which invited expressions of interest from interested parties to supply books for students of primary (I-V) and upper primary (VI-VIII) classes, has signed an MoU with a trust, Room to Read.

“The organisation will develop library infrastructure in about 4,000 schools. Later, these will be replicated in the other remaining schools under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan,” said Ranchi DSE Jayant Mishra.

Nearly all state-run schools either lack libraries or make do with a bookshelf or two. The JEPC proposal is aimed at creating an environment for students to pick up reading as a hobby.

All the schools have already submitted their budget proposals, Rs 50,000 for each, detailing plans for requisites such as a separate room, cupboards, benches etc, under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which mandates setting up well-equipped libraries.

S. Prasad, the principal of Government Middle School at Karamtoli, said, “As of now, we are somehow managing a small room for a library. But after a proper library is set up, we will be able to provide a reading room for our students.”

Kishore Kumar Verma, the principal of a state-run middle school in Lohardaga, pointed out that they had gathered and kept only a handful of books in the office almirah.

“We provide the books to whoever is interested,” he said.

JEPC officials also pointed out that they had set up a few libraries at schools in Mandar block with the help of Room to Read, a trust, a couple of years ago.

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