Textbooks of government-run schools in Uttar Pradesh will now be available online for teachers and students who may download it on their smart phones.

The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has uploaded the e-books on its official website (www.scertup.co.in) where it can be downloaded free of cost.

For the benefit of visually-impaired students, there is also a provision where they may listen to the text of these books by clicking on the audio option.

Presently, there are 105 textbooks prescribed in UP government schools out of which 25 e-books are already available. The process of uploading of remaining e-books is on.

“We have started the process of going digital with our books. In government schools, students come from underprivileged families. As some of the telecom operators are giving data virtually free, we think those who have mobile phones will benefit from it,” said director, basic education, Sarvendra Vikram Bahadur Singh.

He said instructions were given to the officials to examine the content of textbooks and if they find anything that needs to be altered or corrected, it should be done at the earliest.

There are 1,13,247 primary schools (class 1 to 5), 45,590 upper primary schools, 4,94,940 teachers and 1.62 crore students in the state. The printing work is on and some of the books will reach the schools when they open on July 1.

“Often printing of such a large volume of books gets delayed. By the time the book reaches the students, a couple of months get wasted. As books will be available online, teachers will be able to take classes and teach students,” said Prof Rakesh Chandra of Lucknow University who has worked with government schools in the past.

The textbooks for students of classes 1 to 3 will be uploaded later as the syllabus has been thoroughly revised. Presently, the initiative is aimed at helping students, teachers and parents whose wards are studying in classes 4 to 8.

“It is a good move though it may not be a complete solution to all the problems. At least teachers, parents and students will be encouraged to shift to digital platform. E-books cannot be a substitute to actual books but at least if printing gets delayed there is something to fall back on,” said RTE activist Samina Bano.

A similar initiative was launched by Punjab government in March this year when e-books were uploaded on the Punjab School Education Board’s website for the ease of students.