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Govt unlikely to print adequate textbooks for new session

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, Dec 20: The government is unlikely to provide new text books to all students across the country for the next academic session as well.

Though officials at Janak Education Material Centre (JEMC), the sole authority for printing school textbooks for central, mid-western and far-western regions, said JEMC would print 19.5 million sets of textbooks for an estimated 6.1 million students from grade one to ten by the second week of new session that starts on mid-April, only 8.2 million text books have been printed for the new session so far.

“To meet the target by mid April, JEMC must print at least 131,000 books every day even if it operates at full capacity,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, chairman of the Guardian Association of Nepal.

Even if the government succeeds in meeting the target of printing 19.5 million books, the books would meet only 54 percent of the total demand, said Bhandari.

Marketing and Distribution Manager of JEMC Arjun Kunwar claimed that the centre has been printing 59,000 sets of textbooks per day, but the monitoring team deployed from the Department of Education found out that the centre was printing only 24,000 sets of textbooks on an average per day.

Kunwar claimed that the centre would meet the target by the second week of the new session by printing more than 2.5 million books every month in the remaining time.

However, the centre cannot produce more than 80,000 units per day even if it works round the clock, said JEMC staffers.

“The DoE is yet to forward us the accurate number of books that should be printed for the new session,” said Ram Bahadur Kunwar, chairman of JEMC staffers´ association.

Meanwhile, the guardians and student unions have said the government should allow private sector to print school textbooks so as to be able to meet the demand.

“We have waited for six years. Now it´s high time for JEMC to find a private partner to print textbooks so that students are not deprived of textbooks,” said Lekh Nath Pokhrel, a leader of Nepal Students Union.

Meanwhile, Sajha Prakashan, the distribution agency of JEMC, has expressed readiness to assist the government in publishing the textbooks within the timeframe.

Published on 2012-12-20 04:00:34
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About nirjanasharma

Journalist.

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