JSSK slow to print as school year nearsThousands of students from state-run schools across the country will be compelled to attend classes without textbooks this year too as the new academic session starts next month.
Thousands of students from state-run schools across the country will be compelled to attend classes without textbooks this year too as the new academic session starts next month.
This is the seventh consecutive year that public schools are forced to run classes without textbooks for students. Hardly 40 days before the school year begins, the state-owned Janak Shiksha Samagri Kendra is yet to print half of the textbooks. Out of the 16 million units it has been assigned to print, the JSSK has produced only 8.5 million units so far. At this rate, only 2.5 million more copies will be readied before the academic session starts in 69 districts in mid-April. In the five districts of Karnali zone and Mustang, new session started in mid-February.
The JSSK blamed obstruction on the Nepal-India border, fuel shortage and delayed paper supply for not meeting the deadline. Public schools have been facing textbook shortage since the government started providing free books for grades one to 10 in 2009. After assessing that it cannot meet the target on time, the JSSK called tenders from private publishers to print textbooks. However, the publishers’ association has decided not to support the JSSK. JSSK Executive Director Anil Kumar Jha said the firm has published tender notices three times but no company has expressed its interest to print the books.
Private publication houses are demanding permission to publish textbooks from grades one to seven independently. Currently, private publishers have been authorised to print books for grades one to five while the JSSK has the sole authority for grades six to 10.
A total of 37 million textbooks are required for the 5.95 million students from 29,000 public schools across the country. Fourteen private publication houses print the books above the JSSK quota. Distribution is also done by private companies.