Schools across the country have been warned against forcing students to buy expensive textbooks produced by private publishers, rather than those belonging to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
In an advisory, the CBSE also said action would be taken against schools that indulge in commercial activities such as selling books, uniforms, shoes and stationery items to students.
The Delhi Police recently registered an FIR against a private publisher for “indecently depicting women and misrepresenting the syllabus prescribed by the CBSE” in a Class 12 physical education textbook. The book, which portrayed a 36-24-36 figure as the ideal body shape for women, drew widespread criticism in academic as well as social media circles.
“All CBSE-affiliated schools were required to follow the directions provided in a circular issued on 12.04.2016 regarding the use of NCERT /CBSE textbooks, but the board often receives reports regarding the pressure exercised by schools on children to buy textbooks other than NCERT/CBSE,” the circular read.
The CBSE, which provides affiliation to over 18,000 schools across the country, has started issuing showcause notices to institutions found violating its norms. The board even withdrew its affiliation from a few schools in Uttar Pradesh after noticing discrepancies in their functioning.
The letter then went on to note that the board has repeatedly warned schools against indulging in commercial activities. “However, it has been brought to the notice of the board through various complaints that schools are still selling books and uniforms within the school premises, or through select vendors,” the circular read.
The document further stated that as per rule 19.1 (ii) of the CBSE Affiliation By-Laws, institutions such as societies, trusts and companies registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act-1956 should ensure that schools are run as a community service, and not as a business venture. This means that the educational institutions concerned shouldn’t indulge in any kind of commercial activity, it added.