Primary and secondary students are set to get new textbooks on the first day of 2018 as the government has taken all preparations to distribute more than 35 crore copies of free books.
Like the previous eight years, the government will celebrate the first day of the new year as the “Textbook Festival Day” across the country by presenting the New Year gift to over 4.42 crore students from pre-primary to secondary levels.
With two days to go before the start of the celebration, almost hundred percent textbooks have already been dispatched to respective education institutions, according to officials of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), the apex body looking after the government's textbook affairs.
The education officials at grassroots level worked round the clock to send the books to schools for the last several days, said the NCTB officials. The authorities of the schools are now doing the last-minute job, they added.
“All textbooks have been sent to the education institutions. Children who will go to schools return home with a set of new textbooks on New Year's day,” NCTB Chairman Prof Narayan Chandra Saha told The Daily Star yesterday.
He added they would not distribute reading materials to pre-primary level students as those were handed over last year and preserved at the schools.
This year, the government has printed around 35.43 crore copies of textbooks to distribute among the students of primary and secondary schools, ebtedai and dakhil madrasas and technical institutions.
Education and primary and mass education ministries will celebrate the festival by distributing the textbooks at separate programmes in the capital.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid would open the festival at Azimpur Government Girls High School and College playground. The primary and mass education ministry would also hold a separate programme at Dhaka University central playground.
In the wake of persisting textbook crisis, the government in 2009 decided to distribute textbooks free of cost. It has been distributing free books to both primary and secondary level students at the very beginning of academic session since 2010.
In the last eight years since 2010, the government handed over 225.43 crore copies of textbooks among the students.
It has been alleged that paper quality of some books was substandard and some books were damaged during transportation.
Asked about the issue, Prof Narayan said if the complaint of substandard paper is found true, the printers are bound to replace those.
The education ministry printed 12 textbooks of class-IX which were modified by educationists. However, no change was brought to the contents in some textbooks, mainly Bangla and Anandapath of different classes.
Poems and stories of several acclaimed authors, including Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Golam Mustafa, Humayun Azad and Satyen Sen, were dropped following demands of a radical Islamist group.
This triggered widespread criticism in the beginning of the year.