JEMC was too busy to print textbooks

Says it had to print ballot papers

Kathmandu, April 30:

The new academic session began two weeks ago but most of the textbooks meant for government schools are not available in the market. Authorities said today that this situation will persist for one more month.

The Janak Education Materials Centre (JEMC) is entitled with the task of printing books for

government schools. Sajha Publication (SP) distributes these books. But the textbooks for almost all classes are yet to be printed. The curricula of Grades III, IX and X have been modified this year, meaning the content of 97 books have been changed. These books are hardly available in the market.

Books of compulsory subjects for Grades IX and X are sparsely available, let alone optional subjects. Grade III textbooks are not at all available in the market.

According to Surya Ghimire, principal of the Kupondole-based Pragati Sikshya Sadan, they are undecided whether to run classes of those grades whose curricula have been modified. He said they had just received curricula of Grades IX and X and only 10 per cent of books required.

“We have not even received the course of study for Grade III,” he said.

“We are teaching ninth and tenth-graders on the basis of course of study,” he said. Third-graders are being given handwriting and other assignments, he said, adding, “Thanks to the unavailability of textbooks, students are unwilling to join classes.”

“Provided the JEMC gives us books, we will make the books available to the students of

urban areas within 24 hours and to the students of remote areas within a week,” said Ramesh Bhattarai, general manager of the Sajha Publication. But the JEMC is yet to start the printing of revised text books.

The Sajha Publication has been demanding that the JEMC supply at least 20,000 books each day, but the JEMC has not been able to supply even 1,000 copies. “Around 400 suppliers had gathered in Butwal a few days ago to buy textbooks, but we had only 300 books,” he added.

The JEMC has estimated that around 22.4 million school books will be needed this year.

Bimal Aryal, director of the JEMC, said accessing its limited capacity, the task of printing the books has also been given to the SP and Gorkhapatra Sansthan. For the Eastern and Western Development Regions, the responsibility has been handed over to the private sector.

But the scarcity of textbooks persists despite these moves.

The Janak Education Materials Centre had to print ballot papers for the Constituent Assembly election, Aryal said, adding that was one of the reasons behind the delay in the printing of textbooks.

“Due to load-shedding, we could not utilise our full capacity,” he said. The printing was delayed also due to the scarcity of petroleum products and printing papers, he said.

Aryal said the Janak Education Materials Centre plans to print at least 100,000 textbooks every day. The problem will be gone by the end of June if this plan materialises.