New Delhi: The Association of Publishers in India (API) on Tuesday welcomed the Delhi High Court order which stipulated that sale of non-NCERT books must not be disallowed in CBSE-affiliated schools, calling the practice “discriminatory”.
“The court decision exemplifies the point that an ideal education system is the one that recognises the role of multiple stakeholders and is learner-centric.
The decision has been welcomed by not just students and parents but also by schools, private publishers, authors and others as it symbolises ‘freedom of choice’ in education,” the representative body of publishers of academic texts said in a statement.
“The ruling, in addition to providing convenience to children and parents, will also enable them to choose books depending on their preference,” it said.
Arguing that the sale of books, stationary and other items sold by the school be treated as “essential requirements”, the court last week in a decision refused to put a ban on these activities.
In doing so, the court overturned the April 2017 injunction issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which asked affiliating schools not to indulge in “commercial” activities.
The court said availability of uniforms, non-NCERT reference books or even food items for sale only to the students of the school does not fall in the category of and cannot at all be considered as commercialisation.
Earlier in its circular, the board had asked the schools to “desist from the unhealthy practice of coercing parents to buy text books, note books, stationary, uniforms, shoes, school bags etc from within the premise or from selected vendors only” and directed them to operate as doing “community service” as per the board by-laws.
Minister of State for Human Resource Development Upendra Kushwaha, in December last year, told Parliament that CBSE has not directed students or schools to buy or prescribe NCERT books only.