Thursday, December 1, 2016

Time the Govt. stops wasting Rs5B a year printing school books

Just think about it for a moment!

From Grades 1 to 13 we have got our school age youth used to receiving FREE text books for ALL their subjects. That is SIMPLY crazy! Yes the schools usually insist that the books are covered with brown paper to protect the covers etc. but that is done more as a practice rather than the kids been taught why!

Only when a child before he or she enters grade 1, is taught at pre-school or at home, to look after their things, be they school books, pens pencils, uniform and anything that belongs to them, will they learn how to take care of the school books.

The schools are encouraged to ensure that the books are in a quality where they can be used for over 4 years, but most books are unusable after one year with just one student! Why? There is NO ONE willing to take responsibility to ensure that state property is well maintained, as there is NO incentive given. The schools merely list the number of copies of each book that they require for the next year and submit it to the Education Ministry, on which it determines how many books their printers need to print, and often further reprints are called for from the printers when they get their estimates wrong.

This whole process is completely unacceptable, BUT NO ONE IN AUTHORITY has raised this waste of public resources at ANY LEVEL!

So how about financially incentivizing the children by giving them 30 rupees a book that is returned in re-usable quality. This on average is about 25% of the cost of the reprinting of that book and is bound to save the state money. Of course one has to have faith in the individual school to administer this process fairly. Further, prizes of monetary value can be given to schools based on how much they save the Education Ministry in terms of text books, by NOT ordering for the following year, because they have the needed quality for the next year’s students. This will ensure that both the school and the students using the books collectively make every effort at maintaining the quality of the book and prevent it from being disfigured.

In my opinion, the ideal will be for the school to sell all the text books to the students at the beginning of the school year, and buy them back at the end, at a lower price. Second hand books can be sold at half the price of the new ones, so kids can choose depending on their financial  circumstances, how they wish to purchase. Roughly 5 million students at Rs 1000 per student is how the Rs 5B is arrived at in my calculation in case someone was wandering where I got that!
In case the reader doubts the ability of parents to pay for the books, I maintain that considering how much money is spent on children’s pocket money, when they come to school, the monthly payment for the school van or bus to take them to school, the cost of private tuition classes, because the school does not give them adequate teaching to pass exams, and funding for other school activities, this is minuscule, about Rs1,000 per year!

Now ALL books are printed from discs and can therefore be all UPLOADED to the website, which I understand is what the Education Department is about to do to have all books on line for anyone to access! That is a great idea, further preventing the need for the giving of free books, when all the information is freely available on line.

Of course it is a matter of time when students will use TABLETS instead of school books, and if already this information is online, those students who choose to down load their text book to their tablet SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED to do so, with additional helpful teaching and learning guides added for each subject at each grade as an incentive for the students to actually obtain a tablet, just because it will be MORE HELPFUL for their studies than the mere text book they are given or later asked to purchase.

In this way within 5 years ALL students will avail themselves of TABLETS. I have a perfectly good tablet purchased from Dialog for Rs15,000 and that should easily fit the student’s requirement rather than the Govt. which has estimated to spend Rs25,000 per tablet, which I naturally assume to be more than Rs15,000 as a commission to the people pushing the TABLET on the PM who has NO clue that Amazon will actually give him 200,000 tablets FREE as a pilot project as long as they are able to use the publicity of this gift to the GOSL.

The problem is that a commission agent who is the PMs gate keeper is preventing anyone from Amazon from approaching the PM to offer this, as his gravy train is affected, and so the PM is ignorant of this wonderful opportunity.

I would like my readers to think very carefully of my suggestions which are timely and can save the Country Rs5B a year, and perhaps be used to improve the quality of education further by brining the curricula to 2016 and training teachers properly to teach relevant subject to students rather than only offering subjects at schools which will ensure that the student can never get a good job!

The previous blog entry alluded to a classic scandal to override even tender procedures to provide a useless product, at great expense to the Country, all these need to be stopped and better concepts given a hearing.


  1. To say nothing of the fact that many students have Rs10,000 value smartphones already, making a mockery of the state spending on them. How often do these kids change phones? Even in each village school half the students have the wherewith all and the other half don't, though we assume all are poor!

  2. On the issue of giving Tablets to A level students, we have got it all wrong. If we have an amount to spend, say Rs10,000 per student. Then we must give them a redeemable voucher for Rs10,000 to be used to purchase a tablet of their own choosing, so some will buy a good one while others will buy only how much they can afford, the lowest price. If we give choice, then they will have what they want, as some will NOT want the free ones, as today's kids are so choosy, they will not want to even use it as they are already used to more sophisticated ones.

    A voucher towards the purchase will make sure that no money is wasted, and kids are of the age where they truly know what they want in terms of such gadgets and I am sure that retailers will also discount some to get the sales volumes, being a win win result for all stakeholders.

  3. Another example of colossal waste the Country cannot afford

  4. Actually the Tablets are so last year. The 2017 growth is in the detachables that can be used as a tablet and a laptop. Our kids are knowledgeable about what they want, our MPs are still stuck a few years off, so it is best to give the choice of what they need to kids, and just give them a voucher for say Rs15,000

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