This time there is concern about getting new books on time for three reasons
The tradition of handing over textbooks to students on the first day of the year started in 2010. However, although the distribution of books was started at the beginning of the last academic year, the continuity of giving all the books to all the students could not be maintained. Due to three reasons including the delay in giving the work order for printing of books, this time also there is concern about giving all the quality books to the students on time.
Only three and a half months left for the start of the new academic year. But after speaking with the National Education Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) and the printers, NCTB could not give the work order to print primary and secondary level textbooks till yesterday Thursday after completing the ancillary work.
About 35 crore books are being printed for the new year. Out of this, only 240,000 (books written in the mother tongue of minority ethnic groups) have been ordered to be printed.
Again, printers paid an average of 22 to 25 percent less than the estimated price to get the book printed. However, the price of paper, ink and pulp is on the rise. Due to these two reasons, there has been apprehension about printing quality books.
Both NCTB officials and printers fear that it will be very difficult to print quality books on time and distribute them to primary and secondary level students in the next academic year due to three reasons including delay in issuing work orders.
In the meantime, demands have been made by the printers even before the start of the work order. According to the tender, 50 percent of the books are to be given in the first part and the remaining 50 percent of the books in the second part, but now the printer wants not to keep this condition. It has also been seen in the past that in recent times a number of printers have done various tricks to issue books on low quality paper. The same is expected this time too.
However, even if there is concern, there will be maximum efforts to provide quality books on time, NCTB chairman said. Farhadul Islam.
New Curriculum Books in Class Three
NCTB has started the process of printing about 23 crore books for secondary level and about 10.5 crore books for primary level including pre-primary for the next academic year 2023. This time, textbooks and teacher’s guides are being given in the light of the new curriculum for the students of the first class of the primary and the sixth and seventh classes of the secondary level. Books will be printed in the light of the old syllabus for the remaining classes.
Since 2010, the government has been handing out free textbooks to students on the first day of the academic year. But due to Corona, the festival was not held in the last two years. Meanwhile, in the current academic year, NCTB could not hand over all textbooks to all students at the beginning of the year. In February-March also some printers gave books. Complaints were also raised about the quality of the book’s paper. This time the situation is likely to get worse.
NCTB could not issue the action order
The tender for book printing work is done through lots. This time, 280 lots of books will be printed in one part at secondary level. It is supposed to print more than 12 crore 51 lakh books in class VIII, class IX, Dakhil and technical level. After completing the tender work and evaluation work on the printing of these books, the cabinet committee on government procurement has approved it, but the work order has not been given yet.
On the condition of anonymity, an official of NTCB told Prothom Alo yesterday afternoon, after the approval of the cabinet committee on government procurement, the approval of the top level of the government is required. They did not receive it until yesterday afternoon.
As per rules, NCTB completes the tender and sends it to the Ministry. After evaluating and approving it, it has to be approved by the Cabinet Committee on Government Procurement and approval from the top level of the government. After that, the selected organization is given a notification award or work order and has to sign the contract within 28 days. From the date of the contract, the time allotted for printing the book starts.
According to NCTB sources, time is being given to print books in these lots within 70 days. The NCTB estimated last month that it may take till December 22 to print and supply the 280 lots of books. But as there is no work order yet, there is a danger of creating a big problem if there is a slight movement here and there for some reason.
An official of NCTB told Prothom Alo, keeping the issue in mind, 50 percent of the books are being asked to be delivered in 40 days and the remaining half of the books in 30 days.
But the latest news is that the printers have demanded that NCTB remove the condition of giving the book in two parts. That is, they want to give the book within the full time (70 days).
In the other part of secondary level, about 11 crore books will be printed in 182 lots. The work order could not be given after completing the ancillary work for printing the books of these lots. 50 days time has been taken to print these books. According to NCTB’s calculation, it will be possible to print the book by December 23 after completing the ancillary work and agreeing to the contract.
And although the purchase committee approved the work of printing the books of the third, fourth and fifth classes of primary level books, the work order for printing these books could not be given because the next step was not completed.
An NCTB official told Prothom Alo on the condition of anonymity that usually the tender process started from May of the year. But this year due to the complications related to the vacant post of NCTB chairman, the tender process started after at least three months. After that, there is a delay in completing the ancillary works including evaluation.