Fresher students of a Rangpur school burst into joy new books marking the ‘Textbook Festival Day’ on 1 January 2016
Fresher students of a Rangpur school burst into joy new books marking the ‘Textbook Festival Day’ on 1 January 2016File photo

The government is set to provide new books to 45 million primary and secondary level students free of cost at the beginning of the New Year amid coronavirus situation, an official said.

The government has already taken all preparations to give new books to the students despite the book festival is not being held on 1 January due to closure of educational institutions caused by the global pandemic, he said.

Professor Narayan Chandra Saha, chairman of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), told BSS that generally, prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates the book festival by handing over new books to students at Gonobhaban every year.

But this time, the prime minister on 31 December inaugurated the official distribution of books from Gonobhaban virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.

Professor Saha also said printing of about 350 million books is on final stage to provide the free book to the primary and secondary level students.

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A book distribution function attended by ministers and secretaries was also held at the International Mother Language Institute in city’s Segunbagicha today.

Later, new books will be distributed to students in educational institutions across the country on 1 January, professor Saha informed BSS.

On the occasion of ‘Mujib Year’, novelty has been brought on the cover of the book this time, he added.

Besides, pictures of Bangabandhu, independence, great liberation war, language movement and various developmental activities of the government have been printed with captions on the back page of the textbook, he continued.

A total of 213,288 books printed in ethnic languages will be distributed to 94,275 ethnic students (Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Garo and Sadri) from pre-primary to third grade and the books have been printed in five languages

The NCTB chairman said cent per cent of primary books have already been printed while more than 85 per cent of secondary books have been printed so far and works of the book-supply is in progress.

Pre-primary books, Braille method books and books for ethnic students are also being printed, he went on saying.

He informed BSS that sincere efforts are being made to send all the books across the country by 31 December.

Saha further said, “Books will be in the hands of all students of the country on 1 January 2021 and that is our expectation.”

According to the ministry of primary and mass education, the total number of textbooks is 10 crore 25 lakh 82 thousand and 555 next year.

Of those, 2,59,92,671 books are for the first-second grade students, while 6,96,97,374 books are for the third, fourth and fifth grade students.

A total of 213,288 books printed in ethnic languages will be distributed to 94,275 ethnic students (Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Garo and Sadri) from pre-primary to third grade and the books have been printed in five languages.

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This time Braille books will be distributed to 9,196 visually impaired students.

According to the ministry of education, in the academic year of 2021, work is underway to print 24,33,34,000 copies of books for secondary students.

Director General at Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) Syed Md Golam Faruk told BSS that educational institutions across the country have been closed since last March due to the corona virus to ensure the safety of the students.

“We are trying to deliver New Year books to students across the country in time in spite of coronavirus situation,” he said.

He urged the teachers, students and parents to follow the hygiene rules while exchanging books in the educational institutions amid the pandemic.

The director general also said, “We will try to ensure that the students can continue their education smoothly from the beginning of the next year.”

Once they get new books, they can study according to their curriculum, he added.

Awami League government has been celebrating ‘book festival’ on 1 January every year in a festive atmosphere since 2010 with the aim of elevating education standard and preventing dropout rates.

But, this time it is not possible to hold book festival due to the global corona virus. The government, however, has completed all preparations so that students can get the new book at the beginning of the year.

In the last ten years since 2010, over 3.31 billion primary and secondary books have been distributed across the country.