Private printing presses printing books of Grades I-III, JEMCL of Grades IV to X
KATHMANDU, JUNE 21
The House of Representatives, Education and Health Committee has again directed the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to introduce the Federal Education Act in the Parliament at the earliest to prevent shortage of school-level textbooks.
Committee president Jayapuri Gharti issued this directive to the ministry today after discussing the matter with education Minister Devendra Paudel, the Ministry Secretary Yadav Koirala, managing director of Janak Educational Materials Centre Limited, Anil Jha, among the related officials in the meeting of the committee.
The committee members had drawn serious attention of the government and officials concerned regarding the unavailability of school-level textbooks even after the passage of two months since the start of the new school session.
Before this, the committee had, on May 25, issued directives to the bodies concerned to produce and distribute textbooks on time even by making alternative arrangements so as to avoid shortage of school textbooks in the forthcoming academic session through coordination among the federal, provincial and local governments.
At present the private printing presses have been given responsibility of printing text books of Grades 1 to III and the Janak Educational Materials Centre Limited textbooks of Grades IV to X.
Education Minister Paudel briefed the committee that he has been following up on the matter with Janak Educational Materials Centre Limited every day so that students get their textbooks free of cost and also telling the bodies concerned to address the problem if the shortage of textbooks was found after taking information on the textbook availability from various sides including the districts.
He said although private sector printers have informed that they can print textbooks for all the classes, the Janak Educational Materials Centre Limited under the government's ownership has been given the main responsibility for this by adding printing machine, thinking that doing so would be appropriate.
Man Bahadur Bishwokarma, Yogesh Bhattarai, Sarita Neupane, Jeevan Ram Shrestha, Hit Bahadur Tamang, Anjana Bishankhe and Jagat Bahadur Bishwokarma among the lawmakers urged the government to take steps for reliable, alternative and long-term solution to the problem and to carry out administrative and managerial reforms in the JEMC. It is a matter of shame that there is always shortage of school textbooks every year, they said.
Managing Director Jha told the meeting that book printing has been delayed as the demand for textbooks has far exceeded supply and there is shortage of printing paper. He added that only five per cent of the targeted number of textbooks remained to be printed now.
Minister Paudel said the draft of the Federal Education Act and four other education-related bills have been prepared and sent to the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Law, Justice and parliamentary Affairs among the various bodies for their feedback, but these bodies have not given their opinion and feedback in time, hence the delay in tabling the bills in the parliament.
He urged the Committee, the media, and all sides to extend cooperation to bring the bills on time.
A version of this article appears in the print on June 22, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.