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Students without textbooks two months into academic year

RAWALPINDI, Oct 7: Two months after schools have reopened, students of the Punjab government schools still do not have the complete set of books in their syllabus.

According to the Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme, middle level textbooks are given free of cost to students at the provincial government schools. Moreover, female students are also given Rs 200 as stipend.

Last year, the government had changed the academic year to accommodate the fact that schools and colleges in the province opened in August instead of April.

Parents and students had since complained that despite after about two months, the complete course books had still not been provided by the administration.

The headmasters and the headmistresses of the Punjab government schools which we visited said they had written to the District Education Department several times, but had not received any reply so far. They said they would distribute books among students whenever they got them.

Saghir Alam, a higher secondary school teacher, said the situation in rural areas was far worse because urban students can get books from markets but this was not the case in rural areas. He said students in rural areas sometimes did not get textbooks until much of the academic year was over.

Usman Javed, father of a student studying at the Muslim school said, "Everyday my daughter asks me to bring her books, but I cannot find them despite my search in all bookshops of the city." He said he had found a copy of the Urdu textbook in one of the old bookshops but he has not managed to get the English textbook.

Kashif Ahmed, a student of Islamia High School, said most of the students did not have the complete syllabus after two months and their studies were being affected.

We surveyed the bookshops in Sadar and Urdu bazaar in Rawalpindi and found that many shopkeepers did not stock Punjab board textbooks.

Khalid Rehman, a bookseller, said shopkeepers normally did not keep the Punjab board textbooks, as they were available at the provincial government schools free of cost.

Executive District Officer (Education) Chaudhry Mohammad Yousaf said it was not true that students did not get Punjab board textbooks. He said some textbooks had not been given to students because the government had made changes in those books. He said the books would be given to students after they get printed. He said the new books could arrive from Lahore in two or three days.

Meanwhile, most students at schools are waiting for textbooks and others who are studying old books, which they found with relatives or at old bookstores, have not realised that their course had been changed. Daily Times

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