The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed an online portal that will allow schools and students across the country to buy textbooks directly from the education body to ensure they are available in time for next year, officials said.
“The portal will be launched this month itself and schools, as well as individuals, will be able to place an order for books online and it will be delivered to them,” said a senior human resource development (HRD) official.
Currently, the NCERT prints books and they are delivered through the authorised vendors across the country. Sources said approximately 42.5 million NCERT books are used by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)-affiliated schools.
The move will help parents save money usually spent on sourcing books from private publishers, often on account of non-availability of the NCERT books. Parents have complained to the HRD ministry about schools forcing them to buy expensive books.
The price of private publishers’ books is four to five times higher than the NCERT textbooks, officials said.
School authorities, on their part, say they end up recommending books by private publishers because NCERT books are not available. Schools affiliated to the CBSE, including private schools and Kendriya Vidyalayas, follow the NCERT curriculum.
Through the portal, schools and individuals will also be able to track the status of their consignment online as it will indicate the delivery date.
“Schools and those who place the order will also be able to track the movement of the books, right from placing an order to the delivery. We are hoping that schools will give us the estimate of the number of books that are required for next year so that they are available much before time,” said a senior HRD official.
The portal will help NCERT assess the total number of books it needs to publish. Sources said schools will be given at least a month’s time to upload their requirement. Officials further said so far NCERT used to do the exercise on its own rather than asking schools to provide them with the information.
The NCERT publishes 364 textbook titles in Hindi, English, and Urdu annually.