Over Priced Textbooks

Over Priced Textbooks
  • 1
    Share

Pricing and sale of school textbooks ( and even uniforms) has become a veritable scam in Kashmir. The scam roughly works along the following lines: some schools, in cahoots, with textbook and uniform suppliers direct parents of students to buy these from these vendors or suppliers, with certain specifications. Parents, being captive customers, have no choice but to follow the instructions from these schools. Often times, the prices of these items are exorbitantly high but, to repeat, parents of wards have no choice but to buy these essential items from prescribed vendors. This is both immoral and ethical and should be deemed illegal too. There is and should be no thing as captive customers. Parents and their wards should and must be free to make choices such as these. This becomes all the more poignant and salient given that our socio economic structure is in the nature of a pyramid where the tiny elite occupies a small slot at the top, the middle classes form the upper middle of the portion but the major chunk is formed of the underprivileged classes. However, education being education , which is now a social good is sought by all, for social and economic mobility, for legitimate reasons. Fundamentally, a certain paradox defines contemporary Kashmiri society: it is riven by conflict but, at the same time, it is aspirational. Broken down, this means that all socio economic classes yearn and aspire for education. But, financially and economically, not all can afford premium education. So, an assorted set of education service providers fills in the gap and lacunas left by poor and shoddy government schools. These education providers, must and should ensure that the financial burden on those who cannot afford premium education is not onerous. But, to the contrary, many of these are exploiting parents and their wards by making them captive customers of textbooks and uniforms which are usually over prices. This, to repeat, is a veritable scam that milks and skims off profits from where they are not due. The complains of parents who have been skimmed must be taken cognizance of and this scam brought to an end by not only punishing the scamsters but also making this odious practice illegal. In the final analysis, education is a public good. While government schoolings’ inadequacies compel parents to send their wards to private schools, this should not mean exploitation of and predation on the vulnerable.