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JEMC ends 40 years of partnership with Sajha Publication



Four decades of partnership between Janak Education Material Centre (JEMC) and Sajha Publication House, both state-run enterprises, has come to an end on Tuesday. 

JEMC´s Board of Directors decided to snap ties with Sajha as the festering problems within the publishing house, the only distributing agency of the center, affected the textbook delivery across the country for the upcoming academic session, which begins on April 13. 

Under harsh criticism from the stakeholders over the delay that violates the right to education of millions of children across the country, the JEMC board chaired by Education Secretary Narayan Gopal Malego decided that the Center itself would begin distributing the textbooks printed until Wednesday.

“Waiting for Sajha to resume its work is not an option now as we are already running behind the schedule to transport the textbooks across the country,” Secretary Malego told Republica. Sajha was meant to start picking the books from JEMC go-downs 
one month before the session.

But the ongoing protest of Sajha´s staff, who are demanding the resignation of General Manager Mamata Jha over the issues such as delayed salaries and other facilities since mid-January, has crippled the publishing house, compelling JEMC to end the partnership. 

Even though JEMC has decided to pick books from its go-downs from Wednesday, it might take a couple of days to complete the procedures, some officials said.
But others, including Suprabhat Bhandari, a member of the monitoring committee under the Department of Education (DoE) to ensure textbook to students on time, insist that since the Center would work with the same distributing agents with whom Sajha had been working, it is possible to pick the textbooks from Wednesday itself.

JEMC to fall short of 9 m textbooks in new session 

Despite of JEMC´s decision to accelerate the distribution of textbooks from Wednesday, the center with its full capacity can print only 135,000 books per day.
JEMC, which has currently printed only 13.5 million textbooks, will lack additional 9 million schoolbooks as the DoE has assigned it to print 22.5 million textbooks for over six million students in the next session.

Predicting the crisis, the stakeholders have demanded that the government address the crisis and set up a mechanism to address the problem on a fast-track mode to award a contract to some private publication to print books. However, the Education Ministry is yet act on this demand.

Crisis deepens for Sajha 

Sajha Publication House was the only distribution agency of JEMC for the last 40 years. But, the debt-ridden organization has got into deeper crisis following the break-up with JEMC.

The ongoing strike of Sajha´s staff took a nastier turn when the agitators assaulted the account chief during their protest in last week of February.
The relation between JEMC and Sajha had soured for a couple of years as the latter failed to pay Rs140 million debt to the center on time.
Though the government had formed a three-member committee led by PMO Law Secretary Raju Man Singh Malla to recommend solution to the crisis by February 11, the panel is yet to submit its report to the PMO. 

As of now, the future of the once reputed publishing house hangs in the balance.



Source- Republica Daily


Published on 2014-03-26 02:24:53

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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