Book crunch hits Khotang

KHOTANG: Three months into the new academic session, and students still have not received textbooks in Khotang.

Though Janak Education Material Centre had established a book depot in district headquarters Diktel with the aim of distributing textbooks to students on time, this was not possible due to gross negligence on the part of the centre.

“The district needs 28,000 books” informed District Education Office.

Students of grades six, seven, eight, nine and ten are said to have been affected the most due to the shortage.

Optional math book of grade nine and ten as well as Education and Economics book of grade six, seven and nine are in short supply.

According to District Education Officer Ganesh Prasad Bhattarai, as many as 65,000 textbooks were required for the same number of students from grade six to ten in the district.

Bhattarai said JEMC had supplied 50,000 sets of books and 15,000 sets have not been received. Books for grades six and seven are being supplied in the area from Udayapur.

“JEMC didn’t supply books for grade six and seven this year. On top of that, it supplied inadequate books for grade eight, nine and ten. None of the newly changed grade eight books have been brought to the district so far,” he said. However, textbooks for students of grades one to five were supplied by private publications. Many teachers in the area have been managing classes with the help of a single teacher’s copy due to book crunch.

“Following the shortage, a large number of students in many schools have not been able to buy any book. They are rather depending on their teachers’ books,” said DEO Bhattarai.

Guardians complained that the district had recorded the lowest pass percentage in this year’s SLC result following persistent shortage of books. Though stakeholders urged JEMC several times, the pleas for smooth supply of books have gone in vain.

According to Bhattarai, JEMC had said it would not be able to provide books until Dashain festival. “It has been delaying and neglecting distribution under various pretexts, sometimes citing delay in printing, problems with Bailey Bridge over the Sunkoshi River, or earthquake,” claimed Bhattarai.

“How can the education sector improve when books become unavailable?” questioned Bhattarai. The book depot established by JEMC has remained closed after distributing a few books to the local book traders some months ago.