“I love getting new books, I love the smell of new books,” said a third grader Hasnat from Government Laboratory School while attending the festival at a venue in Dhaka.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid inaugurated the festival centrally from Dhaka’s Azimpur Government School and College premises in the morning.
Although NCTB officials claimed textbooks already reached to upazila levels, our correspondents from seven districts reported about delay in distribution of textbooks.
The festival organised by NCTB at every upazilas of the country celebrates two colours: red and green. While the minister draped red and green scarf, the students wore caps of the same colours. Teachers and parents also joined the festival.
At the event, Nahid said: “Last year, over 33,000 million books were distributed. This year 36,210 million free textbooks have been distributed among more than 42.6 million pre-primary, primary, secondary, ebtedayee, dakhil, dakhil vocational and SSC vocational students.”
He said to increase the quality of education is now a challenge. For this, various methods have been undertaken in examinations. The new generation will uphold the legacy of Bangladesh. The country needs to develop children in proper manner.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith also distributed textbooks among students at another venue at Dhaka University central playground.
Delay in distribution
Meanwhile, our correspondents from Narayangaj, Khagrachhari, Rangamati, Joypurhat, Barisal, Rajshahi and Bogra districts report, students are yet to get all books. In most cases, half of the required books reached to district and grassroots level distributors.
Narayanganj District Secondary Education Officer Benzir Ahmed said: “We could not distribute full set of books, but we will give the rest books within this week.”
NCTB official Ratan Siddique categorically denied the allegation while asked, saying: “We have delivered hundred percent textbooks to upazila levels according to the demand of the student ratio. Now, it is the responsibility of the school authorities and concerned persons to distribute textbooks to the students.”
He said: “There are schools that distribute books after the student pay admission fees. Hence, all the students might not receive books on the textbook festival day, which is on January 1.”
In reply to a query over allegations that few indigenous communities did not receive textbooks in mother tongue yet, Ratan said: “There are remote areas having schools with four to six students. So, it might happen that the local authorities could not deliver on January 1; since it is the first time textbooks in mother tongue are being distributed to indigenous communities.”