63,000 students of five mountain districts yet to get textbooks
March 2, 2019 04:00 AM NPT
Deepak Bhandari, a representative of the private-sector publishers, said that they could not supply the textbooks to the districts due to the ongoing snowfall.
REPUBLICAKATHMANDU, March 1: Students of government schools in five mountain districts have yet to get textbooks although the new academic session in those districts began on February 13.
Of the total 77 districts in the country, the new academic session in the schools of Humla, Dolpa, Jumla, Mustang and Manang begins from February 13 and in he remaining 72 districts from April 14. There are more than 63,000 students enrolled in the government schools of the five districts, according to Center for Education and Human Resources Development.
All the governments since 2008 have failed to supply school textbooks to the students in outlying districts on time, according to the Guardians Association Nepal (GAN). “The students of these five districts are yet to get school textbooks,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, former president of the GAN. “This is a proof of sheer neglect of the students in those districts by the government. Even the media ignores the remote districts because they do not give priority to inaccessible districts,” he added.
The state-owned printing house Janak Education Material Center (JEMC) and the private-sector publishers have been printing the school textbooks since 2006. JEMC was assigned to print the textbooks of Grades 6 to 10 while private-sector publishers were assigned to print the textbooks of Grades 1 to 5. However, from this year, private-sector publishers were allowed to print the textbooks of Grades 1 to 4 only.
Deepak Bhandari, a representative of the private-sector publishers, said that they could not supply the textbooks to the districts due to the ongoing snowfall. “The textbooks were dispatched to Humla and Jumla 10 days ago,” he said. “The schools will get the textbooks soon.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), said that the textbooks should have been supplied to the schools in mountain districts two weeks before the start of the new academic session.
A total of 40 million school textbooks of Grades 1 to 10 are needed for the upcoming academic session. The JEMC informed that it would print 22.5 million textbooks for the next session and the remaining copies of 17.5 million will be printed by private-sector publishers.
In the past, the government would start the textbook printing work from mid-July for the next academic year, according to the MoEST. However, this time, the printing work was delayed although the new academic session starts from April 14.
MoEST secretary Khaga Raj Baral said that the textbooks could not be delivered on time due to snowfall. “I was told three days ago that JEMC has dispatched the textbooks to those five districts,” he added.
The country witnessed snowfall in February 2, 3, and 28 throughout the country.