JSSK fails to meet book printing deadline, again

  • 14 million school textbooks prepared so far, 5.5 million yet to be printed
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Apr 18, 2017-The new school session started on Sunday but thousands of students are forced to attend classes without textbooks, thanks to the failure on the part of the Janak Shiksha Samagri Kendra (JSSK) to meet the book printing deadline.

The state-owned company has so far completed printing 14 million units of textbooks. The JSSK is yet to print 5.5 million units. 

The printer can produce around 100,000 units every day if it uses all its machines in a full-fledged manner. 

This, however, is not the first time the JSSK has failed to print textbooks on time. Textbook crisis is a perennial problem and students since 2009, especially from the remote parts of the country, have failed to get textbooks even into months of the new academic session. 

This time, the JSSK, however, as an excuse. 

The JSSK has been asked to print around 180 million units of ballot papers for local level elections slated for May 14, and it using seven of its printers—out of 20—for the purpose.  According to Madhav Timilsina, executive director of the JSSK, as human resources also had to be divided, textbooks printing was affected to some extent. It will still take a couple of days to complete printing ballot papers.

“We hope to dispatch all the needed textbooks by the end of Baisakh (mid-May),” said Timilsina. 

Even if the JSSK keeps its word, which it has never done in the past, thousands of students will have to be without textbooks at least for a month. 

The Ministry of Education has already allocated Rs 1.88 billion for distributing textbooks for free to around 6.8 million students from 29,000 public schools across the country.

The JSSK has sought 

Sajha Prakashan’s help to print around three million units of textbooks. 

However, by Monday Sajha had readied only 650,000 units. Dolindra Sharma, executive director of Sajha Prakashan, also a state-owned entity, blamed the delay on the part of JSSK in providing the printing papers and covers for the books. 

According to him, when Sajha Prakashan’s help was sought in printing textbooks, the JSSK had said it would be providing printing papers and book covers. 

“We have also asked private publishers to ensure textbook printing is completed on time,” said Timilsina of JSSK. 

At present the JSSK prints textbooks for grades 6 to 10 while the private sector is authorised to print textbooks for grades one to five. 

The number of textbooks so far printed by private printers could not be confirmed due to lack of data. 

Published: 18-04-2017 08:05

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