How long will the students learn wrong lessons?

After coming to power in 2009, the Awami League government planned to provide free books to the students at the secondary level along with the already prevailing system in the primary level. Since 2010 every year on 1 January, the ceremony is organised and books are provided to students of classes I to 10. As a result, the first day of the year is also celebrated as the textbook distribution day.

Despite various hitches in the education system this initiative of the government is appreciated. Educationists also believe that free access to textbooks has played an affirmative role in increasing education rates. This is certainly positive. But which disappoints us is to hand students with books with misinformation and lower quality. Printing of textbooks becomes a major problem every year.

This time the situation was direr. We all know, there was uncertainty about the timely supply of textbooks due to the rise in the price of paper in the international market following the Russia-Ukraine war. But what could be the justification for not selecting a contractor in whole one year? Every year there are inordinate delays in issuing print orders which results in rushing to print at the eleventh hour and produce poor quality books.

The pictures of the mistakes that have appeared in the textbooks in various media, including Prothom Alo is extremely worrying. Many of these mistakes are repetitions of ones made under old curriculum. In other words, students were already being taught wrong lessons. Prothom Alo reports, in a chapter of a book of grade X, Bangladesh History and World Civilization, the authors of the textbook have not only made factual mistakes about the parliamentary system of government, but have made the topic unnecessarily complicated.

The fact is that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman resigned as president and assumed the duties of the prime minister under the 'Provisional Constitution of Bangladesh Order'. The new president Abu Sayeed Chowdhury administered the oath. It is written in the book that justice Mohammad Sayem administered the oath.

On page 181 of the same book it says, “Pakistan military forces were involved in torture, genocide and destruction throughout Bangladesh from 26 March to 16 December.” In fact, Pakistani forces carried out massacres on innocent Bengalis on the night of 25 March.

While the government observes Genocide Day on 25 March, it must be considered an unforgivable mistake to say that the genocide started on 26 March. Not only history books but other textbooks also contain such errors and wrong information, which need to be corrected immediately.

Officials of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) tried to argue that they did not get to check the quality of the printed books due to shortage of time. But no one will say that the quality of book printing was good in the past.

This is because they bargain with the contractors before giving the work orders but do not supervise them afterwards. If monitored properly, the page and forma number would not have flipped or the texts not faded.

Correct the textbooks that are full of mistakes and take back low-quality printed books and distribute quality books among the students immediately.