The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Textbook crisis hits students

Cuttack, May 13: Nearly 6 lakh high school students in the state face shortage of textbooks after being caught in the crossfire between the Orissa Board of Secondary Education and booksellers.

The board, in a bid to rectify its syllabus by dropping optional subjects after one year of introduction, has triggered a crisis in supply of textbooks.

The 1,000-odd high school textbook wholesalers registered under the board have not procured the textbooks for Classes IX and X for the current academic session demanding compensation by way of swapping the optional books that were still lying with them with new ones this year.

With no let-up in the boycott by the Orissa Publishers and Booksellers’ Association, the textbook shortage continues in different regions, especially in rural parts of the state even after over a month after the start of the new academic session.

“While there are around 9 lakh students in Classes IX and X, nearly 6 lakh of them still have no access to the textbooks,” Kishore Panda, the general secretary of the Orissa Secondary School Teachers’ Association said.

“Most parts except those in and around Berhampur, Balasore, Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar — where BSE zonal offices are located — are hit by the shortage,” Panda added.

The board had opened counters at its headquarters in Cuttack and zonal offices to make textbooks available.

The board is also trying to enter into an agreement with the postal department to facilitate selling of the textbooks through post offices.

“We have offered to provide the textbooks at a subsidy of 10 per cent to the postal department to make its own arrangements for transport and sale through its network of post offices,” board secretary N.R. Mohapatra said.

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