Mahfuz Emran: And the new academic year is starting in just a few days. It has become a tradition to present new books to students through book festival on 1st January. Due to the national elections, the book festival has declined. Although the permission of the Election Commission (EC) was obtained regarding the primary book festival, the permission was not given for the secondary book festival.
That’s why the secondary school book festival is not happening this time. However, it is said that this festival will be held centrally at the primary level.
On the first day of the year, the students are excited about the new book. Go home and turn the pages to see what is written and pictures on the page. Class VIII and IX students will be deprived of this opportunity at the beginning of the year. Because, by December 31, all the books of these two classes will not reach the upazila level. Apart from this, there are reports of printing books on low quality paper.
According to National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) sources, 30 crore 70 lakh 83 thousand 517 copies of books are being printed for 3 crore 81 lakh 27 thousand 630 students in 2024 academic year. 5 crore 38 lakh 3 thousand 423 copies of books have been printed for first, fourth and fifth class students.
The number of second and third class books is 3 crore 36 lakh 1 thousand 274. 61 lakh 93 thousand 878 copies of books have been printed for pre-primary. 6 crore 45 lakh 48 thousand 308 copies are being printed for the sixth class, 4 crore 45 lakh 57 thousand copies for the seventh class, 5 crore 34 lakh 84 thousand 271 copies for the eighth class and 5 crore 6 lakh 84 thousand 573 copies for the ninth class. On the other hand, a total of 2 lakh 5 thousand 31 books are being printed for the children of minority groups (written in five languages). Among other books, 5,752 copies of ‘Braille’ books will be printed. Apart from that, teachers will be given 40 lakh 96 thousand 628 ‘teacher assistants’.
According to NCTB sources, almost all the books of the sixth and seventh classes of Madhyamik have reached the upazila level. However, 70 percent of the eighth-grade books went and 45 percent of the ninth grade. Five-six books of these two categories are still out of print. However, NCTB wants 80 percent of sixth class and 60 percent of ninth class books to reach the upazila by December 31. On the first day of the year, efforts are being made to combine four to five small books with one or two large books and give them to the students.
NCTB distribution controller Hafizur Rahman told that efforts are underway to deliver most of the books to the upazila level by December 31. However, due to the delay in going to the printing house, the eighth and ninth class books have to gain some momentum. Hopefully, the eighth and ninth class books will reach the upazila level by January 15.
When asked about printing books on low-quality paper, he said that three-four books have already been cut. Some big presses are also giving out bad books. For this the inspection agent has been reprimanded. Efforts are being made so that no one can give bad books.
Our Correspondents talk to the District Education Officers of eight districts to get the latest picture of the books being sent. They said that most of the books of the sixth and seventh classes of Secondary have reached the area. But the eighth and ninth class books have not yet gone properly. In these districts, 30-40 percent of these two classes of books have not yet gone.
The district education officer of Rangamati district Mridul Kanti Talukdar told that two of the 10 upazilas of Rangamati have received class VIII books. However, we have not received the class 9 books yet. Panchagarh District Education Officer Mohammad Saiful Malek said that 46 percent of secondary school books have arrived in the district. Most of the sixth and seventh class books have come out of this. However, the eighth and ninth class books have arrived partially. Apart from this, 75 percent of submission level and 40 percent of technical books have come.
Noakhali district education officer Nur Uddin Jahangir said that 70-75 percent of secondary books have arrived. However, in one of the two upazilas, the books of class VIII and class VIII and class IX in the other have not yet arrived. Mohammad Ruhullah, district education officer of Habiganj, said that 60 percent of books have arrived in secondary school. Most of the missing books are of class VIII and IX. District Education Officer of Rangpur Enayet Hossain also said that in his district, the books of the eighth and ninth classes of Secondary have gone partially. In Cox’s Bazar and Feni district, the information of these two categories of books is also available.
NCTB officials say that a month before the end of the year, the members of the textbook wing and the distribution controller have been changed, which is not right at all. That’s why NCTB is struggling to print books. The new distribution controller still doesn’t have it all figured out. Again, the post of member of Textbook Branch is vacant. Due to this, Munir Hossain Khan, a member of the Finance Branch, has been given additional responsibility.
President of Bangladesh Printing Industry Association Rabbani Jabbar said, it is too late to prepare the manuscript. Even last week some manuscripts of class 9 books arrived. Due to which the contract and work orders have been delayed. There is a delay in printing the book due to normal reasons.
NCTB Chairman Professor Farhadul Islam told that all books of primary, secondary, sixth and seventh classes have reached the upazila. However, I am in a bit of trouble with the eighth and ninth class books. All the books of these two classes may be delayed by 7-10 days to reach the upazila level. Some of the big printing presses got the job of printing most of these two classes of books. They also asked for some time.
He said, if the printing presses do not deliver the books on time, they will be blacklisted. Again, there are complaints of printing books on bad paper. For this the inspection agent has been reprimanded. The printing press will also be mourned. After understanding the book, action will be taken against them. He also said that there is not much crisis in sending books. However, if there is a danger of creating a bad situation at the election center, I will take the help of the police.
When asked if there could be mistakes in sending the manuscript to the printer in haste, the NCTB chairman said, spelling mistakes can be corrected. But I am afraid whether there is any informational or presentational mistake. If any error is found, I will correct it quickly and send the correction by March.
Secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education Farid Ahmed told that since the education minister is a parliamentary candidate, the Election Commission has declared it closed. And since our minister is not an MP candidate, we have been given permission. He has no political program in Dhaka. For that reason, the primary book festival will be held at a specific place as per the pre-announcement.
NCTB sources said that although it is not a book festival, Sheikh Hasina will hand over books to students of all levels at the Shapla Hall of the Prime Minister’s office on December 31. There will be 15 people from the Ministry of Education, 8 people from NCTB, 15 selected academicians as well as vice-chancellors of Dhaka, Jagannath, Islamic Arabic and National University. However, even if the ministers are present, they cannot give a speech.
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