Education and Careers

The business of school books that troubles parents

Below is a letter sent by a parent to the Principal of a school in Delhi.
Respected Ma'am 

I write to you to bring to your notice the difficulties parents are facing due the school's stationary shop. While the privately published excessively over-priced books are provided with less than 1% discount (the market discount rate is anywhere between 10-20%), the NCERT books for none of my wards studying in classes 3, 4 and 5 were included in the course sets. Other parents have the same complaint. These books, we parents have been instructed, to buy from elsewhere. Only one privately published book was also not in the set for class 6, but the school stationary shop took responsibility for providing that book alone. For all other NCERT books we were asked to fend for ourselves.  It is not surprising that these books lie within the Rs 50-60 price range, while the other books can cost anything between Rs 250-400.  
 
This is a very worrisome development, where monetary profit has replaced any ethical considerations. While the shop is earning a huge profit from this exercise, the least moral responsibility it has is to provide the parents a hassle-free experience.  Even after paying through the nose for the course-sets we still don't have the minimal satisfaction of having procured the entire course! I've been running from pillar to post trying to buy these books. Some shopkeepers make snide remarks at schools for not caring about providing the NCERT books and are reluctant to part with a few books because it disturbs their course sets.
 
My humble request is either stick to an entire NCERT course and save the parents the hassle of having to waste precious time on single book hunts, and money on exorbitantly over priced books, or instruct the school stationary shop to have the decency to provide complete sets which will not affect the money they make anyway.     
 
Umme Zainab

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