PESHAWAR: The private schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been teaching textbooks of various publishers to the students without approval of the competent authority, according to sources.

They said that the practice was in violation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Supervision of Curricula, Textbooks and Maintenance of Standards of Education Act, 2011.

Section 3 sub-section 2 (b) of the Act states: “The competent authority may approve manuscripts of textbooks produced by other agencies before they are prescribed in various classes of an institution.”

A senior official of the elementary and secondary education department told Dawn that under the law, the private publishers were bound to get approval of the directorate of curricula and teachers education before introducing their books in the market.

“Currently, most of the books being taught in private schools and produced by over 12 publishers are not according to the national curricula,” he said.

Sources said that the publishers, whose books were being taught in private schools, included Afaq Publishers, Nayab Publishers, Jamal Publishers, Javed Publishers, Star Publishers, Gaba Publishers, Oxford Publishers, Millat Publishers, Khalid Publishers, Taj Publishers, Royal Publishers, Oxon Publishers and Gohar Publishers.

They said that prior to passage of 18th Amendment, curricula was a federal subject but it was devolved to the provinces after amending the Constitution. They expressed unawareness about the approval of the private publishers’ books by the federal government, however, they said that not a single publisher got approval of the directorate of curricula and teachers education.

Sources said that disadvantage of the non-approval of the books was that education department and its directorate of curricula and teachers education didn’t know whether the books being taught in private schools were established in according to the national curricula or not.

They said that there was no uniformity in the textbooks, teaching methodologies and classrooms’ environment in the private educational institutions.

“We introduce books of our own choice,” said a principal of a private school. He said that usually private schools did not consider the quality of the books and contents rather the owners of the schools eyed monitory benefit being given to them by the private publishers.

“The private schools earn 40 per cent profit in selling books as they have forced the students to either purchase books from the selected booksellers or the private schools have established their own bookshops inside the schools,” said the principal, wishing not to be named. Sometimes, he said, they introduced the books of different publishers to the students of the same class.

An expert on curricula working in education department said that expansion of knowledge vertically and horizontally was not in alignment. Secondly, he said, the contents in most of the books of private publishers were in accordance with the age of the students.

A senior official of the directorate of curricula and teachers education, when contacted, said that the department started regularisation of teaching learning materials or books in the private schools.

In that regard, the directorate directed through a notification all the private schools some two months ago to adopt the textbooks duly approved by it. “In case of non-compliance with the orders, the institution at fault would be proceeded against under section (4) of the Act,” read the notification.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2019