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March 15, 2019

Prices of textbooks increased slightly


March 15, 2019

LAHORE: Prices of textbooks of Punjab Curriculum & Textbook Board (PCTB) for private schools across Punjab have been slightly increased by an average of 9 percent with maximum increase of 17 percent in the price of Class-4th Islamiat textbook.

A simple comparison of the textbooks’ prices of the previous and new academic session, starting from this April, shows the price of each textbook of Class 9th and 10th has been increased by Rs 8 to Rs 10 while on average the increase is Rs 5 for each textbook price. Students of public schools get the textbooks free-of-cost while those studying in private schools and appear in board exams have to buy the textbooks from the market. A simple calculation shows that the overall impact of the increase would add up to maximum Rs 70 on the purchase of a full set of textbooks of a particular class. On the other hand, private publishers, particularly foreign publishers, have considerably increased prices of their schoolbooks exposing lack of government’s control on them. An increase of Rs 65 has been reported in the computer book of Class-2nd of a foreign publisher. Similarly, prices of other books have been increased between Rs 60 and Rs 80. Many private schools follow books of local or foreign publishers for junior classes. While the new academic session has yet to commence, sources in the School Education Department Punjab said the PCTB had improved the delivery mechanism of textbooks to public schools unlike previous years with most of the schools having already received the books. The remaining schools were being provided with textbooks on a regular basis and hopefully the process would be completed before the start of the new academic session, they added. Talking to The News, PCTB Managing Director Abdul Qayoum said the prices were revised last time in 2014 and under the latest review of prices efforts were made to keep the increase in prices at minimum level. He said multiple factors were responsible for the slight increase including price hike over the years, input costs and the cost of labour etc. The prices were worked out in a manner that a burden of maximum Rs 60 to Rs 70 fell on the schoolbag of a student, he added. To a question on on-the availability of some textbooks in the market for students of private schools, he said the situation would be much better from Friday (today). When conducted Schools Minister Dr Murad Raas said the government was making efforts to improve quality of education in public schools so that people prefer public schools to private schools.

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