Private publishers' commission bait

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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Schools in Saptari district have been found to be prescribing textbooks published by private publishers for the temptation of lucrative commissions. The schools, which receive government grants to buy books, have been found buying books from private publishers.

According to the District Education Office, which is responsible for distributing the funds, the office has disbursed Rs 2.97 core to 322 schools in the district to buy books for students up to grade X and foot the management expenses.

However, Sajha Publications Rajbiraj, which is authorised to supply textbooks to local schools, said it has only sold books worth Rs 50 lakh this academic year. “It is obvious that the government-given sum is being used to buy books from other publications,” a staffer at DEO said.

Private publishers, which are also authorised to sell school-level textbooks, have been selling books at low price to penetrate the market. The members of Guardians Association allege that head teachers are pocketing about 40 per cent commission that they are given by private publication houses. They say that Sajha Publication only gives 9 per cent commission.

Some of the head teachers themselves concede that the private publication houses compromise on quality of paper and their books do not last long. “I bought the books for my school from Sajha after I found that the books from other publishers were sub-standard,” said Prakash Gupta, headmaster at BP Secondary School.

According to Manoj Kumar Majhi of Sajha Publications, Rajbiraj, out of 322 schools in the district, only a handful of schools such as BP Secondary School, Bhardaha, Kankalani Secondary School, Portaha and Rajdevi Secondary School have bought books from Sajha.

(Source: The Himalayantimes)