• Monday, Jan 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:03 am

National Textbook Festival: School children get 353m free textbooks

  • Published at 10:11 pm January 1st, 2020
textbook
Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

In the presence of tens of thousands of primary school students, the main book distribution festival was held at the Dhaka University central playground

Across the country, an incredible 353 million textbooks were distributed on Wednesday to more than 42 million primary and secondary students on the annual Textbook Festival Day.

The new school year in Bangladesh began on Wednesday alongside the annual handout of millions of free textbooks to children. The government has begun distributing free textbooks to students at their schools for the new academic year 2020. 

At the same, textbooks written in various indigenous languages for ethnic minorities --- Chakma, Marma, Garo, Tripura, and Sadri --- were also distributed.

In the presence of tens of thousands of primary school students, the main book distribution festival was held at the Dhaka University central playground. It was organized by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education.

Md Zakir Hossain, Minister of State for Primary and Mass Education, along with national cricket star Shakib Al Hasan, handed over the books to primary school students at the event.

The students were clearly excited at receiving their books from Shakib.

Inaugurating the textbook distributing ceremony, Md Zakir Hossain said: "There is no substitute for skilled human resource for the country's economic development. In order to achieve this target, education and training are much needed."

The junior minister urged students to learn with commitment and grow as good citizens to implement Bangabandhu’s dream of transforming Bangladesh into a developed country. He added, “You are the future of the country and you will be the key to implementing Sheikh Hasina’s vision 2041.”

Students receive free textbooks from national cricket star Shakib Al Hasan on January 1, 2020 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Participating in the program, Timrose Chakma, a third grade student at South Bashabo Primary School, appeared happy with her new books being written in her native Chakma language.

"I could barely read Chakma language books. Nonetheless, I am happy getting books written in my language," she said happily.

Nurjahan Hamida, head mistress of Motijheel Government Primary School, said: "It’s a matter of sheer joy and excitement. What we haven’t had in our lifetime, our kids are now getting this fabulous opportunity (having textbooks at a yearly festival)."

"There has been a notion that primary schools are deprived of resources. I think this government program will help us overcome this shortcoming.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated free textbook distribution program for the academic year 2020 as part of the "National Textbook Festival", which is being celebrated across the country on Wednesday.

Various events were organised across the country. In Savar, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni handed over books to students at Adhar Chandra Government High School on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, book distribution in schools in Rangpur, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Jamalpur, Sylhet, Manikganj, Narayanganj, Pabna, Faridpur and Bagerhat caused jubilation among students. 

Rajshahi City Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton inaugurated the book distribution event at the city's Agrani School and College on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner of Rangpur AKM Tarikul Islam launched the distribution of books at the secondary level in the city as chief guest. 

A whopping 6 million textbooks were handed over to students in Narayanganj town. District Education officer Shariful Islam said that a number of new textbooks had already been sent to schools across the district. 

In the remote Hill Tracts district of Rangamati, thousands of children were excited at receiving new books on the first day of the new year. Rangamati district council Chairman Brisha Ketu Chakma inaugurated the book distribution event at Godhuli Amanatbagh Government Primary School at the Sadar upazila on Wednesday.

Bangladesh has continued to set examples in the world through a distribution of free textbooks among large numbers of students on the first day of January. The annual event began in 2009/10 when the government decided to tackle a growing textbook crisis in Bangladesh's schools and colleges.  

Since then, more than 2.2 billion books have been handed out to students.