KATHMANDU, May 11: Though the new academic session began on April 14, around 4.4 million school textbooks are yet to be printed.
The government had assigned the state-owned Janak Education Materials Center (JEMC) to print the textbooks for Grades 6-10 while the private sector was assigned to print the textbooks for Grades 1-5. The textbooks should have been distributed to the schools before the start of the new academic session.
“However, some 4.4 million copies of textbooks are yet to be printed,” said Devi Ram Aryal, deputy director at the Department of Education (DoE).
A total of 37,251,955 copies of textbooks are required for 5,757,744 students from Grade 1-10 in the current academic session, according to the DoE. The private publishers were assigned to print 17,250,115 copies of textbooks of Grade 1-5 and the JEMC was authorized to print 20,001,840 copies of textbooks of Grade 6-10.
According to the JEMC, it has printed 16,841,718 copies of textbooks so far. The private publishers claimed that they have printed 14,100,000 copies of textbooks till now. Both the publishers claimed that they would print all the remaining copies of textbooks in four days.
But the officials at the Ministry of Education said that it was impossible to print all the 4.4 million copies of textbooks in the next four days. The JEMC, which was also assigned to print the ballot papers for the local level elections, has published only 15,691,718 copies of textbooks, according to the DoE. “The private sector has not provided the actual number of published textbooks,” said the DoE officials.
The first two weeks of the new academic session were declared as the enrollment campaign period while the next two weeks were named as door-to-door admission campaign for those who missed the admission in schools. “We want no one to be deprived of admissions,” said Aryal.
Aryal further said that the schools were already open but the shortage of textbooks has affected the teaching and learning process in many districts. “There is a shortage of the textbooks of different subjects in various districts. We are collecting the actual data now,” he added.
It's not the first time that school students have faced the shortage of textbooks in the country.