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Textbook shortage looms large in Nepal
Publication Date : 18-04-2012
The Nepali government’s plan to enroll students with books in their hands could not materialise in many districts due to failure on the part of Janak Shikshya Samagri Kendra (JSSK) to supply textbooks on time.
Aiming to bring some 36,500 students in the school system, the Department of Education launched a school enrollment programme on Sunday, coinciding with new academic session. However, JSSK, the sole authority for publishing books for the Central, Mid-Western and Far-Western regions, is yet to publish over three million sets, which were supposed to have been printed by mid-April.
Six months since the printing started, 16 million books, including those in stock, are ready against the target of 19.7 million sets for this year. According to JSSK spokesperson Manohar Lamichhane, most of the printed books have been dispatched to different districts, targeting those in the hill and rural areas first. However, a report of the textbooks monitoring committee presents a different picture. “Books are inadequate in majority of the districts be it from the Tarai like Banke and Rupandehi or from hills like Gorkha and Lamjung,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, president of Nepal Guardians’ Association and a member of the monitoring committee. The Ministry of Education has directed all the District Education Offices to make textbooks available to all the students before their enrollment. “The present scenario shows that textbooks shortage will be even more serious this year,” Bhandari added.
However, JSSK officials claimed the target would be met by doubling the daily production. “We will put our whole effort to fulfil the requirements by April-end,” said Lamichhane. JSSK has to increase its daily production to some 150,000 units to meet the target, which is not possible. The press staff say the JSSK cannot produce more than 80,000 units per day even if it works in full-fledged.
State Minister for Education Lila Bhandari, who regularly visits the JSSK to press for timely publication, said Director General Ram Chandra Silwal has assured her to meet the target in two weeks. “The ministry will take action against JSSK authority if the target is not met by April-end,” Bhandari said.