“Government college students put up a good show in the examinations, while many of those who failed were students from private colleges. Those who failed must have gone by the study material prepared by the college, without reading the text book,” minister for education, K Parthasarathi, had said after the results of this year’s second year intermediate physics examination had been released. Incidentally, a shocking 3 lakh students had failed the examination.
This is the harsh reality of Andhra Pradesh. In fact, so high is the dependency on study material that the sales of text books has been dipping in the last few years. Colleges too are busy producing their own study material, guide books and all-in-ones.
At the beginning of each academic year, students are expected to buy text books. But in our State where most students choose to study in corporate colleges, students are supplied with study material, that act as alternatives to text books.
“We were asked to buy the study material published by our college. This book has all the information in a question and answer format. Hence, we don’t find the need to buy text books. In fact, both in my first and second year, I did not buy textbooks except for mathematics,” said Vikyath A, a corporate college student.
These study materials have all the information and students directly prepare from these as it reduces half their work of writing and preparing answers. A few months before the exams they buy all-in-one books. Studying from text books is no longer a criterion for corporate colleges.
“Corporate colleges have their own books and there is absolutely no need for text books. The study material has everything that the text books do along with questions and answers. For parents to buy both the study material and textbooks is a burden, so they just buy the study material,” said a chemistry teacher who works with a corporate college, on conditions of anonymity. Incidentally, this college sends several students to prestigious institutions like IIT each year. Ironically, most of the students from this college failed their physics exam this year.
This dip in sales of text books has book shop owners complaining. “These days the sales of first hand text books have come down. Students prefer second hand textbooks. Unlike before, these days children are buying text books only towards the end of the year before the Eamcet exams,” says Kashif Mohammed, owner, Book Paradise.
Padma Shrivastav, faculty at Gowtham Junior College, blames the recent bandhs as the main reason for more demand of these books over text books. “Last year, we did not have enough time to finish the syllabus. The standard of these books are good plus they are easy to study, especially for students who are below the average grade. However, this method of studying is bad, especially for students who would be attempting competitive exams.”
The Telugu academy, which publishes the intermediate text books, also strongly believes that this method of studying will do more harm than good. “For the last few months, we have been campaigning across the State and are requesting students not to depend on guides but text books instead. We are spreading the word even amongst colleges and parents and have even sent out circulars for the same,” said K Yadagiri, director, Telugu Academy.
This is the fate of most students whose results depend on study material and spoon feeding, than understanding and reproducing subject knowledge.
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