Education minister urges to ensure textbooks are available on time

KATHMANDU: Minister for Education Giriraj Mani Pokharel has said that alternatives must be sought to ensure that the school text books are published on time.

In a discussion with the state-owned Sajha Prakashan staffers about its needs and capacity to distribute the text books today, Minister Pokharel said it would not be proper for him to continue in his post if the students did not get their course books on time.

"I agree that state institutions like Janak Education Material Centre and Sajha Prakashan should survive, but history alone will not ensure that, and we must look for an alternative," he said.

The Minister has assigned the JEMC management to come up with an action plan by January 7 on the status of publication of text books for the next academic year. A study is also being carried out to see whether the Sajha Prakashn can carry out the task of distribution of the text books.

Around 30 million text books are required for students from grade one to 10 across the country. The private sector publication houses are allowed to print books from grade one to five only. The rest is handled by the JEMC.

As per the latest reports, the JEMC has so far printed only 5.2 million books among the around 17 million required for sixth to tenth graders.

The Sajha staffers on the occasion urged the Minister to provide grant and loan and give single responsibility of the book distribution. Other printing works should also been provided to the state-owned publications in order to revive the institution that is now running in loss.

Publications Chairman and General Manager Dolindra Prasad Sharma said the institution could be saved provided it received at least Rs. 200 million concessional loan, which would be used to lay off unnecessary staff, publish popular books and increase the efficiency of the management.