| Ludhiana |
Up-to-date: May 14, 2020 12:08:32 pm
The distribution procedure for free textbooks for children associated with government schools in Punjab, which usually had come to a halt with lockdown imposition after coronavirus outbreak, has restarted.
The district-level depots associated with Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) have started delivery of books to block-level offices after adopting the ‘proper sanitising procedure’.
In district-level PSEB storerooms, where new books obtained before lockdown were kept, loaded bundles are being sprayed with disinfectants before being sent out for college students. PSEB depot managers said that these were trying to sanitise each bundle associated with packed new publications. The books becoming printed now are also becoming sanitized at the press before being loaded into vehicles.
However, a bigger challenge today lies ahead for the education division and school authorities. With the universities still closed, the teachers within Punjab have to implement a massive physical exercise and distribute at least 1.60 crore textbooks to more than 21 lakh students from classes We to XII following proper social distancing norms. Teachers said that they are however to get any instructions on how publications will reach children — possibly their parents have in order to be called to schools turn-wise or teachers need to home-deliver them at village degree using their own vehicles.
In the four-step process, it is nevertheless unclear how textbooks will achieve children — if they will be known as to schools or teachers is going to be asked to home-deliver. Books are usually first delivered to PSEB district-level workplaces after printing. They are then delivered to block primary education officers (BPEOs) and then BPEOs supply books in order to government schools from where they will reach children via teachers. Subsequent coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, your fourth and last step’s implementation remains unclear.
Meanwhile, the Punjab School Education Board, which is trusted with responsibility to print totally free textbooks for all students from courses 1 to 12 and supply all of them till the block-level, is not using any chances. Each district-level PSEB workplace where books are kept within storerooms, have been instructed to sanitise the entire storerooms and each bundle associated with books, before they are transported in order to block-level offices.
Tarlochan Singh, manager, PSEB workplace Ludhiana, said that on May nine, they received instructions to get 4 storerooms sanitised, and bundles associated with books were sanitised too. “We transported 11,000 books on Tuesday and 29,000 books on Wednesday to block education offices. All four storerooms where books were stored have been sanitised. It is not possible to sanitise each and every book as they are packed in bundles so we are spraying disinfectant on bundles before transporting them. We cannot take any risk as children are involved and they will touch them. Though 22 titles were received before lockdown started, we have sanitised all the bundles.”
He added that least 15 lakh books will be supplied within 19 blocks of Ludhiana area from PSEB office in the town.
“We have opened Ludhiana PSEB office with 33 per cent staff to sanitise books and storerooms after receiving orders. Supply of books will be started thereafter,” he said. “We have not yet received books for classes 11 and 12 as exams/results of board classes are still pending. Priority is to distribute books for classes 1 to 10 first.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Gurtej Singh, deputy director (publications), PSEB, declared that responsibility of the board was to make sure that freshly printed books reach block-level offices safely after sanitising all of them, and further it is the responsibility of BPEOs to ensure books are delivered properly to students.
“We have instructed all district-level offices to sanitise storerooms and bundles of books before delivery to block-level offices. Also, books are being sanitised after printing at the press also. Of total 1.60 crore books that we have to supply for this session, nearly 75 lakh have been printed and procedure was stalled due to lockdown. It has now been restarted to print remaining books too and supply them to district offices as soon as we can,” stated Gurtej Singh.
Amarjit Singh, assistant state project director (textbooks), Punjab education department, meanwhile, declared that exact strategy on how books may reach children was still becoming chalked out. “We might leave it to the principals to ensure that books are distributed at their own level following social distancing norms. They can either call parents or children turn-wise to school. Like a certain number of children can be called in one hour to hand over the sets or for some children books can be home-delivered. Principals and teachers have to work it out at the ground level. Priority is to make books reach block offices first,” he stated.
Swaranjit Kaur, district training officer (secondary), Ludhiana, said that they are going to coordinate with principals to ensure that youngsters are given books in a safe way without crowding in schools. “Social distancing will be followed as per norms. Schools are not yet open for children but only staff. We are yet to work out how books will reach children,” she said.
On Wednesday, Punjab school education secretary Krishan Kumar wrote a letter for all the deputy commissioners in Punjab to allow district education officers plus district managers of PSEB in order to distribute books to the students learning in government schools. The admin in his letter said that due to the lockdown, the schools are not allowed to open up. He wrote that schools possess declared results and parents possess started asking for books as college students are suffering loss in research.
He further wrote that will PSEB has got the books printed as well as the same will also be delivered to districts plus block headquarters.
He asked for the deputy commissioners to allow DEOs and PSEB staff to deliver books to the students studying within government schools and also grant all of them the permission to engage labour for the similar. He said that DEOs would guarantee all necessary precautions are used.
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