Textbooks for new session unlikely to be printed on time

Kathmandu, October 7

Schoolchildren are unlikely to get textbooks on time even in the new academic session due to the government’s delay in taking the decision on granting permission to private firms to print school textbooks.

The state-owned Janak Education Material Centre is also in a dilemma over whether or not to begin printing textbooks for the next academic session.

Students suffer every year due to lack of textbooks, which are distributed by the government to community schools free of cost.The government had permitted private firms to print textbooks from primary level to Grade V last year, while lower secondary and secondary-level textbooks were published by JEMC.

Babu Ram Paudel, director general, Department of Education, said he had already submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education regarding printing of school textbooks. He said he had urged the ministry officials to take a decision without further delay.

“I expect the ministry to take a decision soon after the Dashain holidays,” he said, adding, “As soon as the ministry takes a decision, printing of textbooks will begin.”

Private printing firms have been demanding that the government permit them to print all school textbooks from Grade I to X. “I have already asked the JEMC general manager to start printing textbooks from Grade VI to X. But he seems to be waiting for the ministry to take a decision first.”

As per preliminary estimates, the ministry needs around 40 million textbooks for the new academic session. The government also needs to finalise the list of private printing firms, if it decides to allow them to print textbooks.

Education Minister Dhaniram Poudel said the ministry would soon take a decision so that students could get textbooks on time. He also stated that the government would digitise the curriculum and print colourful textbooks.

Sarita Aryal, vice president of Guardians Association of Nepal, said it was impossible to provide textbooks to students on time if printing of textbooks did not start soon.