JSSK raises prospect of another book shortageTwo months before the commencement of the new academic session, the state-owned printer Janak Shiksha Samagri Kendra (JSSK) is yet to ready around half the textbooks required for public schools across the country.
Two months before the commencement of the new academic session, the state-owned printer Janak Shiksha Samagri Kendra (JSSK) is yet to ready around half the textbooks required for public schools across the country.
The sluggish move of the government entity responsible for printing and distributing textbooks for grades six to 10 means it will miss yet another deadline as the new school year begins in mid-April. In six mountain districts, the session commences in mid-February.
Five months into the task, the JSSK has prepared around 9 million units including around 2 million from its stock against the target of 18 million books.
The government provides free textbooks to all the students studying at public schools. Around 6.9 million students have been enrolled in some 29,000 public schools across the country. Rs1.6 billion has been set aside for free distribution of textbooks for the current fiscal year.
While two dozen private publication houses print the textbooks for grades 1 to 5, the JSSK is solely charged with printing books for grades
6 to 10 though it can prepare those for the lower grades too if it so wishes. Since the government started providing free textbooks in 2009, the state-run publication has never been able to distribute the books on time.
Printing paper shortage, coupled with power cuts and a fuel crisis created by the Indian blockade, has been blamed for the unfinished work. According to JSSK Chief Executive Anil Jha, with the availability of paper and electricity, presses are being run 24 hours a day. He claimed that the books would be ready to dispatch in time through optimum utilisation of the facility to print 120,000 copies every day.
The government has announced to make textbooks available for students a
day before the academic session starts.