KARACHI: As with almost every year, the Sindh Textbook Board has been unable to keep up with the academic calendar to get textbooks on the shelves by Monday when grade one to ten started school.
The books were not available in Urdu Bazaar, the largest book market of Karachi. Although second-hand books were on sale they were only for a few courses. Hundreds of parents who visited the market were visibly frustrated on having to return home empty-handed. “I want to buy new books for my children not torn ones,” said Shabana Khalid.
According to the president of All Private Schools Management Association, Khalid Shah, Sindhi and Islamiat textbooks were not available in the market. For other subjects many schools often use books by private publications so their availability was not as big a problem.
The president of the Urdu Bazaar Association, Naseem Ahmed, said that the book-sellers were waiting to receive the new editions. Old editions were available but they were not enough in stock. “The academic year has formally begun today but we have not received even a single published title,” said Ahmed. However, the booksellers hoped that the new editions will be available by mid April.
Even, Kathiawar Book Store, known for acquiring books much earlier than others was selling off its old stock. One of the owners, Zafar Kathiawar, said “We have only old books to give out to parents but that too in limited stock.” However, Abdul Salam Khawaja, the chairman of the board, refuted the charges and said that only books for grade nine and ten were unavailable. But he later said that the process of giving out free textbooks in government schools will be completed by the end of this week. Then he said, “By April 10, all titles will be available in the market.”
According to him, books for only grade nine and had not arrived in the market because their exams were beginning soon. He blamed the shopkeepers of Urdu Bazaar for spreading rumors and said that some pressure groups present in the market were hurling accusations on one another.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2012.
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