Task force to keep tab on free books for poor school kids

Taking note of the prevailing discrepancies in distribution of free books to students of scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and other reserved categories in government and grant-in aid schools, the state education department has ordered the formation of a task force to identify defaulters and irregularities and prepare a status report of the same.

This is the first time that such a task force has been constituted to check distribution of books in the state. Four teams of task force have been constituted, one each for north, south, central and Saurashtra region. The members and employees of Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB) are the members of these four teams, varying from two to five members in each team. The teams have already started inspection of schools and district education offices of each district.

"The teams have been constituted to verify complaints received against distribution of free books to senior secondary and higher secondary students. The preliminary investigation has already started where nearly six to seven schools in each district will be visited by the team members," GSSTB Chairman Nitin Pethani said.

The Indian Express was the first to report about these discrepancies in distribution of books, especially in Saurashtra districts including Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Bhavnagar.

The data collected from individual schools will be verified from the DEO office and also examine whether proper registers are being maintained for the implementation of the scheme. The report along with the data bank has to be submitted to the education secretary.

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