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‘Textbook crisis likely to be worst in five years’


KATHMANDU, March 23:With just three weeks remaining for the next academic session to begin, the government is still clueless on a mechanism to deliver textbooks to community schools across the country. The crisis is likely to be the worst in the last five years, if no efforts are taken to expedite the process, stakeholders have said.

The stakeholders have demanded that the government treat the situation as a serious crisis and institute a mechanism to address the problem on a fast-track mode. 
Janak Education Material Centre (JEMC), the sole publisher of textbooks, has published only 13.5 million textbooks, out of total 22.5 million assigned by the Department of Education (DoE), for the academic session to begin from April 13. 

As JEMC, which has the capacity to print 1,35,000 books per day, declared that it lacked the wherewithal to print the remaining books on time, Gorkhapatra Sansthan and Sajha Publication were granted the permission to print more books to assist JEMC on March 10. However, the publications on Sunday declared that they were not in a position to print books on last minute in a meeting of the monitoring committee at the Department of Education (DoE) on Sunday.

“While Gorkhapatra Sansthan has said that it lacked the standard press to print textbooks, Sajha has refused to print at the rate offered by the government,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, member of the monitoring committee on textbook printing and delivery at the Department of Education (DoE). 

Meanwhile, even the millions of printed books await delivery. Sajha Publication is yet to collect the books and distribute them across the country. The Sajha is almost in a defunct condition for more than a month following the staffs´ protest demanding resignation of its General Manager Mamta Jha. The staffs have also claimed of being deprived of salaries and other facilities for the last two months. 

“Though there was a good sign of improvement in the beginning, the delay in delivery is likely to make the situation worse if not resolved in a couple of days,” he added. 
Likewise, the authorities have also failed to set the price of books till now, which is likely to create an artificial price hike in the textbooks by the stationeries, claimed Bhandari. 
“The government must allow the privately owned printers to print and deliver textbooks to fast track the whole process,” he added. 

Meanwhile, secretary at the Ministry of Education (MoE) Narayan Gopal Malego said that an alternative to Sajha Publication for distributing the textbooks would be announced soon.
“We can´t wait for Sajha to do the job anymore. We will find its alternative by Monday,” he added.



Source- Republica Daily


Published on 2014-03-24 02:47:06

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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