Panel formed to revise rulebook
Chandigarh Education Department initiates review of School Book and Uniform sale regulations
In an effort to combat excessive profiteering by private schools, the Education Department of the Union Territory (UT) has established a committee to assess the current rules governing the sale of school books and uniforms. The committee also has the responsibility of proposing actions against private schools that compel parents to purchase books and uniforms from specific vendors.
Parents' right to information
The UT school education director issued an order stating that every parent has the right to information regarding books and uniforms for the upcoming academic session, allowing them to make arrangements at their convenience. The existing guidelines grant parents the freedom to buy these items from any store. Additionally, schools are required to display a class-wise list of books and school uniforms on their website before the start of each new session, ensuring parents have access to this information.
The committee has been formed to review these guidelines, considering current challenges and circumstances.
Objective: education, not profiteering
Harsuhinderpal Singh Brar, director of school education for the UT, emphasized that the primary objective of educational institutions is to provide education for the betterment of the country, not to engage in profiteering. Complaints are received annually from both parents and students regarding harassment related to the purchase of books and uniforms, and this academic year is no exception.
The committee includes several education department officials, district education officers, a law officer, and principals from Government Model Senior Secondary Schools in Sector 21 and Sector 35. They are expected to submit their report by October 31, and the new guidelines are anticipated to be in place by the end of December.
Parents have long accused private schools and certain bookstores of unofficially collaborating to list books outside the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) prescriptions, which are exclusively available at specific bookshops. While complaints have been lodged, the alleged wrongdoers, whether schools or bookstores, often face minimal consequences.
The UT excise and taxation department has conducted inspections and issued show-cause notices, but the severity of disciplinary actions remains unclear. Presently, there are around five active complaints against book sellers. The Chandigarh Parents’ Association suggests that enforcing existing orders, such as the use of NCERT books in all schools, should suffice, obviating the need for committees.