In a country like India where many children cannot afford textbooks, the initiative of the Delhi Government to start Book Banks will certainly empower learners from underprivileged backgrounds.
Kavya Thomas | The New Leam
A book bank is a great initiative in a country where there are thousands of leaners who cannot afford to buy books for many reasons such as economic disparity or lack of choices. Thousands of used textbooks that students from a school have used in a particular academic session are sent off to the trash just because they may not be useful any longer, but when the state decides that books that have stopped being of any use for one set of students can still be a treasure for many others- an endeavour like the book bank is started.
The notion of the book bank is of great significance in a country like ours because education continues to be a luxury more than a right. People across communities have differential access to education, to schools, to textbooks and above all to the process of learning within a classroom.
The government has not in the course of its independence been able to sustain a basic mechanism where in spite of being from the underprivileged communities, children can access basic education. It is not surprising that while high end private schools address the demands of the privileged sections of the society, the schools run by the municipality and the government are seen as the last choices. The condition seems to be even worse in schools within slums or economically deprived villages and locations that lack basic facilities such as proper healthcare, roads, jobs or electricity.
The growth of the educational infrastructure in the country has been very uneven and thus it has not been ensured that in spite of their economic background all individuals can have an access to education. The coming in of economic liberalisation has further increased the cost of education and made it impossible for those who earn very little wages to afford to send their child to school.
Good teachers, school infrastructure, the state’s initiative to expand and spread the meaning and importance of education all need due attention because education has the potential to truly empower people. Within these structural constraints, the decision of the Delhi Government to start a Book Bank is welcome.
The Delhi Government has asked its schools to collect used textbooks after each academic year and give it to the Book Bank. This step was initiated by the Delhi Government after the recommendation of the Green Tribunal to make greater use of textbooks. The books that will be collected by the Book Bank will be given to underprivileged children. Every year lakhs of tonnes of paper get used to print textbooks and in the next year students do not use it anymore. To make better use of the textbooks the Book Bank will distribute it to underprivileged children. This step will encourage students to understand that the fact that they have access to textbooks is a point of being grateful and they are accountable for giving this opportunity to other children.
This endeavour is very important because India is a country where several students cannot buy textbooks and this initiative will enable them to gain access to textbooks. This initiative should also include students from private schools and thus the expansion and impact of the program will be immense. Moreover it is also important that children are encouraged to understand the importance of organising and utilising the resources that they have in the most suitable manner and realise how significant schooling as a process is for preparing them for a better life. The notion of the Book Bank will enable schools to contribute further to community requirements and help to expand the potential of education.
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