"So far our information goes CBSE has 20,000 schools and 13 crore books are consumed (used) by students. But while the maximum price of a NCERT book is Rs 50, that of a non-NCERT book goes upto Rs 300," he said.
Elaborating, he said while buying NCERT books the students of 20000 schools spend Rs 650 crore but for non-NCERT publications they will have to spend Rs 3900 crore. "This is not a small margin. I am worried about the financial burden on the school children - there is no qualitative comparison."
To suggestions that non-NCERT were of better quality, he said, "If you consider the performance of students of Kendriya Vidayalaya and Navodaya schools where 100 per cent of books are NCERT publications, the performance percentage of these institutions is much bettter than other institutions," he said.
Asked about the time frame when NCERT books would be made available, Mr. Swarup said orders would be sought from public and private schools in the NCERT website in the first week of August so that advance preparations are made and the entire supply chain is put in place.
About reducing the burden of heavy school bags of children, the secretary said "We are looking at it very seriously."
The final view is, however, yet to be taken, Mr. Swarup said adding "But I agree with the opinion (of children saddled with heavy school bags)."
Mr. Swarup earlier addressed the audience at a function 'Transforming Lives Through Education and Innovation cum Education Excellence Awards 2017'.
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