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Karnataka to divide textbooks into two parts to lighten students’ school bags

December 19, 2023

Come next academic year, state board textbooks in Karnataka will be split into two to take the weight off students’ shoulders.

A committee headed by the director of the Karnataka School Examinations and Assessments Board laid out the proposal to reduce the weight of school bags from grades 1-10. The splitting of textbooks into two (two books – one per term) was one of the significant proposals.

A pilot study of 15 days to see the outcome was conducted by sending 50 copies of textbooks to selected schools in 4 divisions in the state. Based on the committee’s recommendations, the Karnataka Textbooks Society sent a proposal to the government, following which an order was issued.

The committee has proposed that textbooks be divided into two, based on the summative assessments (SA1 and SA2, encompassing 4 FAs). “Textbooks contribute to a significant amount of load in the child’s school bag.  If split, the child can then carry the first textbook part in the first half of the year and the other textbook for the other half,” the committee has said.

However, the proposal also comes with an additional expense of Rs 10 crore, although the government order has it that the proposal must be implemented at no additional expense.

If the textbooks are split into two, there will be an increase of 8-10 pages per textbook — estimated to increase the price for printing them at 10 crore – with 0.45 paise being the increased cost per page. However, sources in the Karnataka Textbooks Society said that the cost will be compensated due to a reduction in the syllabus.

 It is also recommended that to reduce the weight a student carries to school, schools make ensure the supplementary workbooks do not exceed government recommended textbook weight.   Rather than distributing these at the state or district level, they have these prepared at school level in the form of worksheets. For those chapters which need additional study material, the text is to be published as a separate booklet and students must leave it in school.

Authorities at cluster, block and district levels have been asked to conduct routine checks to give feedback to teachers. Students must carry only one textbook and one notebook per subject and a single rough notebook to school.

What are the cons?

27,37,551 textbooks from last academic year which are lying unsold at Taluk stores would have to be wasted.

318 additional titles must be published.

8-10 pages per textbook will be added.

Estimated expenses.

In 2023-24 the 562 titles (318 additional titles) textbook estimates:

Free copies – 4,34,46617 copies (Rs. 219 Crore)

Those for sale – 2,05,37,282 copies (Rs. 103 Crore)

Total – 6,39,83,899 copies (Rs. 323 Crore)

Also read: Karnataka: Textbooks ping pong

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