Students of unaided schools following the State syllabus are still waiting for textbooks for the current academic year, three weeks after online classes began for them.

Distribution of textbooks for government and aided schools is well under way, but unaided schools are still in queue.

School managements say they gave the indents and paid for the textbooks months ago but are yet to receive them despite getting release orders.

CBSE schools can opt for any textbook; their textbooks are available in the market too. However, students of unaided schools following the State syllabus get their textbooks only through the school. But till the government makes it available to schools, students have to make do without them, says the Principal of an unaided school in the city.

Downloadable versions of the textbooks are the only option available now, but parents worry that the time spent by their children in front of the screen will increase further if downloaded texts are used. Digital textbooks are not the same as actual textbooks, nor are all students familiar with them. Moreover, textbooks should have been made available by now, parents point out.

It has been the norm for the government in recent years to provide books for government and aided schools first, leaving unaided schools in the lurch. Delays occur every year, schools allege.

School managers under the umbrella of the Kerala Recognised School Managements’ Association staged a dharna in front of the Textbook Office here on Monday morning.

The government had assured that textbooks would reach schools in time but unaided school students were yet to receive them despite making the payment. Unaided schools are being neglected, association general secretary Anand Kannasa, who inaugurated the protest, said.

Mr. Kannasa said unaided schools should be given textbooks along with government and aided schools, and not after them. Online education was not viable with textbooks in students’ hands, especially as English medium students were finding the online classes, mainly conducted in Malayalam, difficult to understand, he said.

Textbook Officer Subramania Iyer denied there had been any delay on their part. The release orders had been issued and 15 days given to schools to pick up textbooks. However, the textbook distribution was done by the Kerala Books and Publications Society (KBPS), and a convenient date for distribution had to be fixed by them.

A memorandum submitted by the Kerala Recognised School Managements’ Association had been taken up, and the KBPS authorities had said the matter would be sorted out in a couple of days.

Enquiries with them revealed that they were engaged in sorting and distribution of textbooks for government and aided schools with limited hands. Once the distribution dates for unaided schools were fixed, textbooks would be made available to them, Mr. Iyer said.

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