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How to stop schools’ engagement in commercial activities

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A nationalist thinker

Arnav is moved to next class. His parents need to buy all books, stationary set from school book shop and all set of uniforms from school uniform shop. His previous class books can neither be used for his younger sibling nor be donated to needy child because each school has separate books.

Every school has own books, various uniforms that makes book and uniform shop mandatory inside each school.

Delhi High Court and CBSE have ordered to stop commercial activities (selling uniforms, books etc) in schools but hardly any impact visible on ground. It will save lot of school administration critical time wasted on uniform, books, notebooks related matters, dealing with uniform shop vendor, book shop vendor, kids and parents complains etc. Schools may focus more on education quality, student safety, better teaching methodology, teachers training, more focus on students and their issues, welfare.

What should be done to stop schools from commercial activities

It can only be achieved when all school specific items (like uniforms, books, notebooks etc) are removed from schools. Otherwise it will create more troubles for parents as well. Though we are discussing CBSE affiliated private schools here but these points are applicable for private schools affiliated to state boards as well. Do school designed specific set of uniforms, specifically adopted books, branded notebooks and other items anyway help students in academics, learning process?

  1. Schools need to have same uniform

Each school has its own couple of (regular, house uniform, few winters etc) uniforms. Uniforms are available only in school uniform shops, on specified time. Schools change frequently so that anyone else doesn’t start selling these uniforms. Cost of uniforms is very high and hardly used. Parents’ big money goes just for uniforms every year. Imagine both parents are working, leave home before 8 am return in the evening. In addition to cost, big effort of buying.

Each state education department in coordination with private school may finalise 3-4 and each school might be given freedom to choose one. Schools may have small tag with school name placed with on shirt to distinguish school. 4 colour scarves can also be finalised to associate with houses. Similarly, common uniform colour sweater/blazer can be defined for winter. Uniform must not be changed frequently.

It will have so many benefits:

  • Volume will be high, big players will come, so prices will come down.
  • Uniforms will be available in shops near your house so don’t need to go to school as per shop time. Parents can buy uniform in the evening or over weekend from neighbourhood shop, will save time, fuel.
  • Uniform waste will be reduced
  • It will save lot of parents’ hard-earned money
  • Simplified uniforms will make kids and parents life easier. It will reduce washing expenses and save water as well.
  • Kids don’t need to buy new uniform even if changes school

2.      All CBSE private schools should have same books

a. Books must be prepared with the involvement of various experts considering facts like child development, psychology, learning capacity, topics, how to explain topic in easy language, connectivity with previous class etc.

Schools have freedom to decide books of their own choice for all classes except board exam (currently class 12th). So, each private school has its own books.

Most of these books are prepared by small publishers so there are remote chances of all of them being prepared by best experts required to prepare a book. Publisher puts very high price and gives heavy discount to schools and generally this is deciding factor. Each school has separate book so all of them are not available in open market so a book shop is must inside school. Parents have to pay very high cost of these books. Schools play with kids and future of this country just for some money.

b, School sell notebooks with their name so charge 3-4 times of market cost and creates need of bookshop inside school.

CBSE must adopt some standard books for all CBSE pattern schools for all classes and make those mandatory. CBSE may go with NCERT books or some different books but MUST be same.

Schools must allow regular notebooks rather than forcing students to use only school name printed.

Benefits of this

  • Students will read best quality books, prepared by the best experts. Quality of education will improve and learning process will be easier for students.
  • Student and parents don’t need to worry (for books & notebooks at least) on school, city change.
  • These books and notebooks will be easily available in open market in ordinary book shops, in neighborhood market.
  • Books, notebooks prices will come down heavily
  • Reuse of school books will increase that will reduce burden on parents and save so many trees.
  • Great task of reducing school bag weight can also be achieved this way. Each subject can be combined in one book and such 3-4 modules can be prepared. Students need to carry just one module to school rather than 4-8 subject books.

Hope authorities implement these points as soon as possible and save schools precious time from engaging in these commercial activities and put more efforts just on students learning. It will be in the interest of schools, students, teachers, parents and country.

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