Making sure children get their textbooks on time
We applaud the government for its successful distribution of free textbooks among students of classes six to nine starting from the first day of the new year. After a devastating year of battling the Covid-19 pandemic that has been a great blow to school students especially, this is the best news we could get on January 1. To be able to distribute new textbooks among 4.5 crore primary and secondary students free of cost is no mean feat and demonstrates the government's commitment and determination to continue this programme no matter what the circumstances. While this year such a happy event did not see the usual festivity and fanfare it does every year due to the pandemic restrictions, just getting these books have brought smiles to the children.
The way the books are being distributed displays the sensible and careful steps taken by the government to avoid further spread of the virus. Instead of the usual book festival, the formal inauguration by the Prime Minister took place through a video conference from the Gono Bhaban. To avoid crowds gathering, the books will be given at the student's respective school within 12 days following the health guidelines.
We cannot emphasise enough how important it is for these students to get their textbooks this year. Children have not gone to school for almost a whole year now and while TV and online classes have been arranged, for many students they have not been accessible for various reasons. This is especially true for children in remote areas such as in the char areas. Many children have lost their interest in school, others have started working to help out their families. This huge gap in education will be difficult to overcome and will require hard work and innovative strategies from our educators and policymakers.
It is disorienting for children not to follow the usual school routine that chalks out their day and also gives them a chance to socialise. Getting their textbooks on time like before gives a semblance of normalcy and also will allow them to be in touch with their studies even though schools are closed. Self-study should be encouraged amongst children by their school teachers and parents. It is still not known when schools will open given that the pandemic is still raging on. At this time the relevant ministry must engage with the schools to come up with innovative approaches so that the loss of education can be made up and the current school year can go on smoothly. For instance, teachers can be in touch with their students through mobile phones. The challenges are many but they must be met to make sure children can continue to learn. The success of the textbook distribution demonstrates how government's commitment and efficient use of its resources can bring about remarkable achievements.