KATHMANDU, JUNE 9
Minister of Education, Science, and Technology Krishna Gopal Shrestha has directed the authorities concerned to seize school textbooks that do not feature the new map of the country issued by the government last year.
As per government authorities, Minister Shrestha's directive comes after majority of textbooks, particularly Social Studies and General Knowledge, failed to rectify the country's political map by incorporating the disputed areas - Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura - as Nepali territory, which is currently being administered by neighbouring India.
The government had on May 20 last year issued a new map incorporating the disputed areas, six months after India had unveiled its new political map, including Kalapani, under its territory.
Later in mid-June, the House of Representative unanimously endorsed the constitution amendment bill, thereby paving a path to replace Nepal's map in the national emblem.
On June 18, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had authenticated the new bill following the endorsement of the National Assembly through unanimous vote.
Henceforth, the new map has been officially embodied in the constitution as the national emblem of the country. In line with this, addressing the 88th meeting of the Curriculum Development and Assessment Council today, Minister Shrestha directed the authorities to immediately work towards mitigating the mobilisation of unrevised text books. He also asked CDAC to take action against publishers who supply the old books to schools and refuse to print new maps.
Janak Education Material Centre, a government-owned printing press that publishes textbooks, has already started printing new textbooks by altering the country's map in accordance with the national emblem. However, many private printing presses that produce textbooks with government approval have not altered the maps inside the books.
"We have found that many textbooks have not incorporated the new political map. They have cheated the authorities by merely changing the cover of the book, thereby giving the false impression that they have revised the content of the book in accordance with the changing political context," Shrestha said. He further asked the authorities to take stern action against those who did not comply with the constitution and ban the further supply of such books to schools. Likewise, Shrestha urged all the guardians, and schools to immediately call the police if they found any textbook featuring old maps Deepak Sharma, joint-secretary at the ministry, said selling books featuring old maps was like selling medicines with expiry dates. Guardians and schools should be cautious while using such books as they will be seized by the authorities once the academic year begins. Sharma acknowledged that some publishers had not altered the old map while printing the new editions of such textbooks.
A version of this article appears in the print on June 10, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.