Like previous years, this year too the government is preparing to distribute free textbooks among pre-primary, primary and secondary-level students countrywide on the New Year. According to sources at the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), nearly 35 crore textbooks are being printed for the 2021 academic year. Workers of 151 printing presses are reportedly passing hectic time in printing and binding of the textbooks. Despite second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the administration seems to be determined to provide free textbooks among the school students. Official sources informed that 50 percent work of the textbooks have been completed and supplied to some districts and upazilas for free distribution.
Every year, students, parents and guardians eagerly wait for the day when distribution of the textbooks will begin. Each and every student considers the books as the New Year’s gift. The incumbent government has introduced the Book Festival in 2010. Since then it has been doing the uphill task regularly and skillfully. Till now, over 331.38 crore textbooks have been distributed among the students. However, because of the pandemic, the Book Festival will not be held on January 1, next year; rather books will be sent to the educational institutions in due time.However, sometimes questions arise about the quality of the books. This year, a number of printing companies alleged that the suppliers might supply low-quality books taking advantage of the pandemic situation. So, it is the duty and responsibility of the evaluation committee that has been formed with the representatives of several government agencies to look into the matter. Free book distribution on the first day of the year is one of the few achievents that the education sector has achieved. There might be questions about quality of books, but the advantages of the joyful event are undeniable. Both the students and their guardians have expressed their happiness about it. Such rare event does not happen in any other country. So, the government’s exceptional achievement has been acclaimed in different international forums, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).