Monday, April 15, 2024
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Shortage of MBOSE textbooks troubling parents and booksellers

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Editor,
The hardship that parents face in meeting their children’s needs right after the school reopens isn’t difficult to understand. From purchasing school uniforms etc., to acquiring textbooks and exercise books, the list is endless. While money may purchase most necessities, acquiring school textbooks has proven to be an annoyance. Of course, the decision of Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma to adopt customized editions of major subjects from NCERT books for the new session, 2024 is commendable and a step taken with the students’ best interests in mind. However, the non-availability of certain major subject textbooks, particularly those published in Delhi, is causing significant distress among the parents and also among the academic institutes and book retailers in the city and in remote areas of the state.
The key textbooks, such as Mathematics for classes 1-7, Science for classes 6-7 and both Mathematics and Science for class 10, are largely out of stock in the local markets. These textbooks, mostly published by Delhi-based publishers, were “recently” supplied in limited quantities to wholesalers and retailers. The supplied books were quickly sold out and no longer available. Normally, booksellers have to pay in advance before the publishers dispatch the parcel to Shillong and Tura. Many of the small retailers do not have enough cash in hand to send the advance payment to Delhi. Hence it is always advantageous to have the books locally published. Books published by local publishers had begun to flow into the markets since January 22nd, soon after the launch of the book by the Chief Minister and Education Minister.
The shortage of text books has taken a heavy toll in many ways. Countless parents, especially those residing in remote villages such as Nongstoin, Mawkyrwat, Thadlaskein, Ranikor, Pynursula, and Mawsynram, are compelled to journey to Shillong in search of these textbooks, only to return empty-handed, disheartened, and burdened with unnecessary expenses for to-and-fro transportation and food. There might be similar problems in Tura as well.
It should be noted that the transportation of goods from Delhi to Shillong and Tura typically encounters various obstacles, resulting in extended delivery times ranging from 10 to 20 days, depending on the transport service providers.
In view of the hardship faced by parents, schools and book dealers, it is imperative that necessary steps be taken to address this issue and ensure the availability of these textbooks in our local markets. “Logistical challenges” should not “hinder” access to quality education. On behalf of the parents, teachers and retailers, I urge the concerned authorities to expedite measures to facilitate the timely supply of these textbooks.
One fervently hopes that Meghalaya will one day achieve “self-sufficiency” in textbook production, reducing dependence on Delhi. Meghalaya should not fall behind in encouraging writers with expertise in their respective subjects. Former Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma has rightly emphasized the importance of promoting local production of textbooks, highlighting the pivotal role that esteemed authorities like MBOSE and DERT can play in this endeavour.
Yours etc.,
Salil Gewali,
Shillong

Well spoken CJI Chandrachud!

Editor,
The Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud who was on a two-day tour to Bangladesh to attend the ‘South Asian Constitutional Courts in the Twenty-First Century: Lessons from Bangladesh and India’ conference has very appropriately emphasised on Saturday that the Election Commission and the Supreme Court must rise to the occasion in situations of “ambiguity and uncertainty” so that it helps people gain confidence in the Constitution. He has rightly pointed out that the, “Constitution is not an Income Tax Act.” Further he has hit the nail on the head stating, “We, as judges and courts, must ensure that we learn to communicate with our citizens and reach out to them; we cannot expect our citizens to reach out to us. This reflects the evolving nature of our society.” Long live the learned Chief Justice of India.
Your etc.,
V K Lyngdoh,
Via email

 

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