Burden of books on children in kindergarten (KG) schools has created resentments among guardians in Sylhet district. Allegations are there that the school authorities and teachers are allegedly receiving commissions from publishers for prescribing a large number of books that a child will not require at the elementary level.
Sources said many KG schools have sprouted in 12 upazilas of the district and the government has no control over them. The schools have been running at the whims of managing committees, which do not follow the government guidelines. All the KG schools have been running on commercial basis. They display colourful posters and banners to attract the children and their guardians aiming to collect the students for enrolment at the beginning of the year. Guardians and primary school teachers said the government has prescribed three books for the students of class-I while KG school authorities included 6 to 7 books in addition. The guardians are compelled to purchase those books at a cost of Tk 600-700.
M. Rahman Faruk, a guardian at Sadar, said they have to purchase books on general knowledge, geometry, rhymes of both Bangla and English, and hand writing book, drawing book, and grammar of both Bangla and English for a student of class-I who can hardly read and write Bangla. So, a student at the age of six has to carry 4 kilograms weight on his or her shoulder.
It is alleged that the school authorities maintain a link with the book publishers, who pay them Tk 40,000 to Tk 100,000 depending on the number of students. So, the students of the particular schools are compelled to buy the books, mostly sub-standard, from a particular stall at higher rate.
Kamrul, another guardian in Biswnath upzila, said he has admitted his son in a KG school for giving him better education. But a burden of books has been imposed on the shoulders of his son. President of Primary Schools Teachers’ Association of Dakshin Surma said the government has no control over KG schools. Book seller Abdus Salam, however, has denied the allegations and said the KG schools are selecting standard books.
Shonkor Chokroborty lecturer of Psychology department of MC College, said the children will play and read. The burden of books will increase their mental pressure. Hazrat Ali, District Primary Education Officer of Sylhet, said they are unable to take any action against them as there are no rules and regulations to control the KG schools.