Under fire over failure to handle education system, govt kicks off school textbook distribution across Bangladesh

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Under fire for its failure to handle education system amid Covid-19, Bangladesh government has started handing out new books among students across the country.

The nationwide textbook distribution that was kicked off on the first day of the year in showing good response so far.

It has been the tradition for the last 10 years, but this time, the usual fanfare is missing due to the ongoing pandemic.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the distribution through a videoconference from her official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka.

Unlike previous years, the National Textbook Festival did not take place this year, considering the national health safety guideline because of Covid-19.

The government successfully distributed new textbooks among more than 41.6 million students from pre-primary to secondary levels free of cost.

According to reports, students wore masks and entered their school premises maintaining proper safety norms queued at a distance and collected books.

According to Sakina Mollik, an assistant teacher at Mirpur National (Afternoon) Government Primary School in Dhaka, about 85% of the students along with their parents received books from pre-primary to Class V.

On December 29, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) announced measures for handing out of text books

Prof Narayan Chandra Saha, chairman of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), said this year being celebrated as Mujib Year will see a greater emphasis in the initiative.

He further said that still images of Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, independence, the Liberation War, Language Movement and various development projects of the present government have been included with captions on the back page of the textbooks.

More than 85% of secondary-level textbooks have been printed so far.

As many as 343,662,412 copies of textbooks will be distributed among 41,655,226 pre-primary, primary, Ebtedayee, secondary (Bangla and English version), Dakhil, Dakhil (Vocational), SSC (Vocational), and technical students, according to the NCTB.

The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education said primary students require 102,582,555 books in 2021.

According to estimates, 25,992,671 books are for first- and second-graders, while 69,697,374 books are for the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.

A total of 2,13,288 books printed in five ethnic languages will be distributed to 94,275 ethnic students – Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Garo and Sadri – from pre-primary to Class III, BSS reports.

So far, Braille books will be distributed to 9,196 visually impaired students.

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