'We have distributed more than 2.96 billion books in the last nine years'
The National Textbook Festival, where free textbooks are distributed to school and madrasa students, was held across the country on Tuesday.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid began the festival by handing out newly printed textbooks to students at Azimpur Government Girls' School and College around 9:30 am on the first day of the New Year, reports UNB.
The education minister said: “We are marching towards a new Bangladesh. We have to give priority to education, as today's students will lead the nation in the future.”
"We have been trying to reform the education system since 2010. Bangladesh is a country where many books are distributed for free. Female students are now doing better in every sector, and about 20 million students get scholarships each year. We have distributed more than 2.96 billion books in the last nine years,” he added.
The education minister also urged teachers to teach their pupils morality alongside their regular education.
Education Ministry Secretary Md Sohrab Hossain said 95% of students did not have access to new books when he went to school. “Now, each of you are getting new books at the beginning of the year. You are very lucky.”
He also called for the students to take an oath not to participate in irregularities at exam halls, adding that educational institutions where cheating allegations are raised may be closed.
“No nation is more meritorious than yours. We just have to give the students a better learning environment and up-to-date syllabus,” Sohrab told the students.
Meanwhile, Primary and Mass Education Minister Mostafizur Rahman Fizar began distributing textbooks to pre-primary and primary students at the Dhaka University central playground.
The minister said: "Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will ensure education for all, to fulfil promised in the party's election manifesto."
Earlier on December 24, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the distribution of free textbooks.
The government first took the Textbook Festival initiative nine years ago, distributing the books to students across the country as a gift for the New Year.
The government has printed 352,197,822 textbooks for the students of primary and secondary schools, Ebtedai and Dakhil madrasas, and technical institutes, according to officials of National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB).
The government has spent Tk1,082 crore for printing and distributing the books.