Ministry of Education (MoE) today said that it was going to speed up textbook monitoring throughout the nation.
Hari Lamsal, joint-secretary, MoE, said that though the concerned authorities have been claiming that they were going to deliver school textbooks to students at the beginning of the academic session that begins from mid-April, the ministry was not convinced.
He said, “We are still doubtful about the availability of school textbooks in various parts of the country, so we are going to speed up textbook monitoring across the country.”
He stated that textbooks would be in the hands of students only by the end of April though the academic session begins from mid-April.
He warned of stern action against the school principal and District Education Officers if they tried to misuse the fund allocated for school textbooks by providing old textbooks to students instead of new ones.
The government has allocated Rs 1.82 billion for free delivery of textbooks for around six million students in community/government schools across the country.
Earlier, Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel had also warned of action against private publishers and Janak Education Materials Centre (JEMC) if students did not get textbooks on the very first day of the new academic session.
Dik Bahadur Rai, deputy director at the Education Materials Management Section of the Department of Education (DoE) said they had already begun textbook monitoring in the Valley and were planning to monitor textbook delivery in various parts of the country.
He said, “A four-member team has already started visiting JEMC and private presses to find out the pace of textbooks printing.”
JEMC is a government owned printing press that prints textbooks of grades one to ten.
The government has authorised 23 private presses to print school textbooks of primary level (Grade I to V).
Sajha Prakashan used to deliver textbooks to different parts of the country but from last year, JEMC has been distributing textbooks itself by hiring its own agents across the country.
“JEMC has already prepared 6.9 million copies of textbooks of Grades VI to X. It is producing 85,000 copies on a daily basis,” said Rai.
A flash report 2013/14 prepared by the DoE states that there is need of 1.54 million sets of textbooks for Grade VI, VII and VIII and 526,000 sets of textbooks for Grade IX and X.
Quoting JEMC, Rai said textbooks of Grade X have already been printed and are ready to be dispatched.
Rai added that there was the need of 3.72 million sets of textbooks in the primary level and said that the private presses had claimed that they already had 2.1 million sets from last year’s stock.
He however, expressed doubt over the printing works being carried by the private press companies as some of them are yet to begin the printing process.
“We have visited them in three different parts of the Kathmandu Valley. Two of them have already begun the printing while one is yet to begin,” he said.