Govt to review textbook distribution

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Education on Sunday said it would review the status of availability of textbooks across the country and penalise those involved in delaying distribution for the current academic session, which began from mid-April.

Speaking at an interaction organised by Education Journalists’ Network (EJON) on Sunday, Hari Lamsal, spokesperson of MoE said that since a lot of stakeholders are involved in the textbook distribution process, its management is really complex.

“Still if somebody or some institution has intentionally delayed distributing textbooks to needy students, stern action will be taken,” he warned.

He added that they will be holding a meeting of the textbook monitoring committee chaired by Director General of Department of Education (DoE) to find out the reality.

Lamsal also informed that the government was preparing to provide textbooks to students by the second week of April.

Anil Kumar Jha, general manager, Janak Education Materials Centre (JEMC) claimed that it had already distributed 99 per cent textbooks of the total demand across the country which was 14.5 million and JEMC had already sold 13 million textbooks.

Jha said, “We have supplied textbooks as per the demand across the country, but if the demand comes late then we should not be blamed for delay in distribution.”

However, the private book publishers and distributors doubt the government statement that it will supply textbooks across the country. Prabhat Subedi, vice president, Federation of Nepal Books and Stationary Business said JEMC had failed to provide textbooks to students even two months after the new academic session began. He said JEMC’s claim that it had covered 99 per cent of the demand was not true.

He said, “There is shortage of textbooks in Birgunj, Ramechhap, Dhading, Bajhang, Bajura and Kathmandu, among others,” adding, “There is shortage of textbooks of optional subjects of grades IX and X in most districts.”

Suprabhat Bhandari, president, Guardian Association Nepal said students were victimised every year due to lack of student-centred policy in the Education Ministry.