Sale of illegal guidebooks and notebooks continue unbridled in the capital and other parts of the country in the name of exercise or suggestion books.
The illegal guidebook business continues due to the lax monitoring of law enforcers and National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), market insiders said.
During a visit to the Nilkhet and Bangla Bazar book market in the capital, illegal guidebooks of different publishers were seen selling under different names.
Guidebooks published by Panjeree, Lecture, Anupam, Nabadut, Janani, Popy and Jupiter for second to eighth graders are selling at different bookstores in Hazrat Shahjalal Market, Babupura Market, Bakushah Market, and Islamic Market Market at Nilkhet in the city. Guidebooks for the 9th and 10th grade are also available in the market from publishers like Panjeree, Lecture, Anupam, Royal, Adil, Computer, Jupiter and Classic (for English version).
Besides, guidebooks for 11th and 12th grades released by Panjeree, Jupiter, Popy, Mizan Library, Kajal Brothers and Royal Scientific Publication were also found at bookshops in Nilkhet.
The guidebooks are being sold in various names like Test Paper, Auxiliary Books and Made Easy. In addition to the class-based guidebooks, various guidebooks for Degree, Honors and Master’s Classes are also selling in the market.
Sale of illegal guidebooks is also rampant at bookstores in Bangla Bazar and other book markets in the capital on the nose of the law enforcers and NCTB.
According to the Notebook Prohibition Act-1980, no notebooks or such type of books for the students of Class-II to Class-VIII can be printed and marketed.
In 2008, notebook and guidebooks were banned by an executive order while Supreme Court on December 9, 2009 upheld a High Court verdict that banned publication of both guidebooks and notebooks.
But defying the bans, illegal guidebooks are being printed and marketed cashing in on their high demand among the students. NCTB conducts drives against illegal guidebooks and notebooks on an irregular basis but no tangible action has been taken against the publishers.
Educationists say students at the primary and secondary levels use guidebooks as they cannot depend on ‘low-quality’ textbooks for scoring good results in the examinations.
The quality of textbooks must be improved to reduce students’ dependence on guidebooks otherwise, the creative education method introduced by the government will prove dysfunctional, they said.
A bookshop owner in Bangla Bazar, said, “It does not seem that there is a ban as every bookstall is selling guidebooks.”
When asked whether they faced any problem in selling illegal guidebooks, he said, “The authorities conduct drive but it does not affect our sale.”
Talking with the daily sun at Nilkhet book market, the mother of a six-grader said, “The syllabus has been arranged in such a way that students find it difficult to have a clear idea on creative questions and answers. So I came here to buy guidebooks for my daughter.”
During a recent visit, a special team of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) led by its director Nasim Anwar found unauthorised guidebooks in every book market. The ACC is now conducting an investigation against the notebook and guidebook traders who have allegedly accumulated assets illegally.
“The ACC will examine the issue. At the same time, people who acquired illegal assets from publications of illegal books will be brought under surveillance and investigation” ACC spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee told the daily sun.
ACC recently submitted 39 recommendations to the education ministry to curb corruption from the sector. The recommendations include the formation of Education Monitoring Committees at the city, district and upazila level to ensure proper classroom teaching to reduce dependence on guidebooks.
The anti-graft body also suggested for conducting mobile court drives against all the note and guidebook publishing companies from the first week of December every year.
Alamgir Sikder Loton, ex-president of Bangladesh Publishers and Book Sellers Association claimed, “Most of the teachers cannot understand creative education method. In this situation, our books are greatly helping the students across the country”.
“Textbooks published by NCTB contain lots of errors and the quality of our books is far better,” he claimed.