SHANGLA: Schoolchildren here returned home without receiving free textbooks on the first day of the new academic year.

As authorities didn’t deliver the books, teachers of government schools in Bisham asked students promoted to next grades to return old course books for use by other schoolchildren, according to students and their parents.

Student Mishal Khan, who was promoted to grade 4, told Dawn that she had returned her books to the school but hadn’t got books for the new class.

She also complained that textbooks were not available on the market, so there were chances of learning loss.

Habib Yousafzai, a ninth grader at the Government Higher Secondary School, Butyal, said he and his classmates were upset as they returned home without books.

“Education is our fundamental right, so the state is responsible for providing us with free textbooks, but unfortunately, it has failed to do so,” he said.

Mohammad Qasim, a student of a school in Bisham, wondered how he would study in the absence of course books.

He said the government should immediately make arrangements for books to provide them with books so that they could continue their studies without spoiling their time.

The student said the education department had issued a letter to the district education departments on March 26 urging them to collect old books from the students and re-distributed among the promoted pupils.

Shahid Ahmad, the principal of Government Higher Secondary School Butyal, told Dawn that the department recently instructed the school to collect old books from students as it would provide 90 per cent of books from nursery class to grade 3 and the rest to other grades, but those books had yet to reach it.

“The books collected from students are not usable but we distributed them to some students. As there is a lack of textbooks, the attendance of students was very low on Thursday,” he said.

A senior teacher said 90 per cent of collected books were in bad condition but the school had no option but to distribute a single book from each set to students.

When contacted, district education officer Muzzaffar Sayed said textbooks had yet to be supplied from Peshawar.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2024

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