Breaking the nexus: ‘Last year, I spent over Rs 2,000 on books, this time I spent less’ new school books

Students with their parents at a book shop in Sector19, Chandigarh. (Sahil Walia) Students with their parents at a book shop in Sector19, Chandigarh. (Sahil Walia)

AFTER AN outcry from parents against the nexus between schools and book stores, the schools asked the parents to buy books from any store of their choice instead of recommending a particular shop. This has brought some relief for the parents as their expenditure on books has reduced. However, some schools continue to prescribe books that are available only at select stores.

“Last year, I had spent over Rs 2,000 on books of my child studying in first standard. This year as I bought the books on my own, the books cost around Rs 1,400,” says Anuradha, whose daughter studies in a private school in Sector 44. Radhika, another parent, says, “Last year, I spent Rs 4,000 on books. This year I bought the books for Rs 3,300.” Her ward studies in a private school in Sector 47.

Parents of students studying in Saupin’s School, St Joseph, Delhi Public School, Vivek High School, Shishu Niketan and Chitkara International School claim that the books for these schools can only be bought from the select book stores. Every school has a different set of books with different publishers which then are being sold at select book stores.

“Both my children study in Saupin’s School and every year I come to Sector 19 to buy the books as there is no other store which can provide us with the same set of books. If a set is incomplete then we have to come again to the same shop,” says Parveen, who spent over Rs 6,000 on purchasing a set of books for his two children. In some cases, schools are verbally recommending to the parents the stores from where books can be bought.

For Vivek High School, the parents have to go to a book store in Sector 22 to buy books. Earlier, the parents could buy the books on the school premises only.

“Every year we come here in Sector 22 to buy books which are not available anywhere else in the city. There are fixed sets and the books running out of stock is an issue. Due to the monopoly, the book store sells books at high prices,” says an agitated parent.

The price of books for classes I to V ranges from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,500 while the books for students studying in higher classes — from Class VI to Class X — cost between Rs 3,500 and Rs 6,000. “The problem is, we have some leftover notebooks, colours and other items which are not required every year as they can be used the next year. The shopkeepers insist that these items are part of the set and you have to buy it,” says a parent.

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