Janak Education Materials Centre (JEMC), the sole government publisher for school textbooks, today said it would print the remaining textbooks by the first week of May.
As per the Flash Report of Department of Education, we need to print 24.4 million sets of textbooks for this academic session, JEMC said. The publisher says it had printed around 10 million sets of textbooks, while it already had a stock of around eight million textbooks in its regional godowns. Thus, it has to print only around 5 million textbooks now.
Speaking at an interaction organised by Education Journalists Network (EJON) today, Anil Kumar Jha, Managing Director, said they have been trying their best, but due to shortage of printing paper, they were not able to meet the target within the deadline.
Jha said JEMC had overcome the fund crunch, but the shortage of printing paper was giving it a major headache. “We have already given tender to Baba Paper Mill for supply of printing paper. “Long loadshedding hours have been affecting work too,” he said, adding that they were in talks with Nepal Electricity Authority to provide feeder line to Baba Paper mill.
According to Jha, currently, JEMC has a loan of Rs 1.3 billion and a has incurred a net loss of Rs 63 million while it is paying Rs 140 million as interest every year since the past few years.
Rakesh Shrestha, chief, Educational Materials Management Section, Department of Education (DoE) said it was sad that the government’s plan to provide textbooks to students right in the beginning of the academic session was going to fail.
Shrestha, who is also member secretary of Textbook Monitoring Central Committee chaired by Director General of DoE, said they have already sought clarification along with an action plan for printing and supply of books from JEMC.
Kedar Khatiwada, chief of Market Department, Sajha Prakashan, said they have already bought textbooks worth Rs 330 million from JEMC and have deployed their local agent to provide books to local book sellers.
Sajha Prakashan has 6,000 local agents and 9,000 local book seller across the country. Suprabhat Bhandari, president of Guardians Association Nepal, said depriving students of textbooks in the beginning of the academic session violates their right. He demanded action against those involved in the delay.
Source; The HImalayantimes, published in April 16