January 24, 2021, 12:19 am


2020-11-28 10:19:33 BdST

Students to get textbooks timely despite corona

Printing and binding of textbooks are going on in full swing, as the government is determined to provide free textbooks for preprimary, primary and secondary-level students in time despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Official sources said nearly 35 crore textbooks are being printed in 151 printing presses for the 2021 academic year.

Stakeholders of the education sector have an air of uncertainty about printing and distribution of textbooks among students in time amid the pandemic.

But officials at the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) are optimistic about providing textbooks for students in due time.

They are visiting printing presses and supervising textbook printing activities while two agencies are also supervising the work to make textbooks ready in time.

This year, raw materials for printing have not arrived in the country on time due to coronavirus, press owners said.

Besides this, printing and binding are being disrupted due to the corona infection of several printing workers.

Despite all these obstacles, all preparations have been made to give delivery of textbooks in time, they said.

When asked, NCTB Chairman Professor Narayan Chandra Saha said on Friday, “We’ve already completed around 50 percent work of textbooks.”

“Around 50 percent textbooks have already been sent to districts and upazilas for distribution among students on the first day of the New Year.”

“The rest of the books will be sent to every upazil by December,” Prof Narayan added.

He further said, “The printing process has been delayed a little bit due to Covid-19, but we’re continuing work amid the pandemic.”

According to the NCTB, about 35 crore textbooks will be printed at a cost of Tk 1,100.50 crore for pre-primary, primary and secondary-level students this year.

Of them, about 24.41 crore books will be printed for secondary level and about 10.54 crore for the primary level, taking the previous demand into consideration.

The Awami League-led government has been distributing textbooks among the preprimary and secondary students free of cost on the first day of every New Year (January 1) by holding a national textbook festival since 2010.

NCTB sources said over 331.38 crore textbooks were distributed among students from 2010 to 2020.

Textbooks are distributed to students on January 1 amid festivity every New Year since 2010, but this will not be held this year due to the corona pandemic.

Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said on Wednesday, “The book festival will not be held this year on January 1 due to coronavirus. However, books will be sent to educational institutions and students in due time.”

Meanwhile, NCTB sources said around Tk 300 crore will be saved in printing of textbooks this year as the printing companies participated in tender process at 30 to 35 percent less than the estimated rate.

The companies took the printing work at a low price due to the unusual fall in the price of pulp (raw material for making paper) in the international market, 10 per cent reduction in VAT on paper, and reducing price of paper from Tk 30,000 to 40,000 per tonne due to the corona impact.

Some printing companies, however, alleged the quality of books will be questionable and suppliers will have the scope to give low-quality books, taking advantage of the corona situation.

But, the NCTB chairman said the evaluation committee formed with representatives of several government agencies will look into the matter.

“We won’t compromise with the quality of textbooks,” he added.

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