Guidebook scandal

Posted: ফেব্রুয়ারি 13, 2009 in Education

Government should take zero tolerance attitude

NO one has the right to make vulnerable the smooth functioning of secondary education system in the country by creating artificial crisis of textbooks. But, regrettable as it is, we have been witnessing the same crime being perpetrated quite blatantly in this country for a long time now. It is an open secret that textbook crisis at the very outset of the academic sessions is created by a section of corrupt publishers in cahoots with some dishonest government officials only to force students to buy so-called guidebooks, publication of which is prohibited under the existing law. Through this evil practice, the publisher-official nexus earns windfall profit right before the eyes of the administration. What is most disconcerting is that despite all indications of the nexus in action, the ‘hostage situation’ has also been created this year compelling students to go to school without books. The failure on the part of the administration to frustrate the practice has given rise to many pertinent questions in the minds of the citizens. We think it is time the administration came up with satisfactory answers.

The details of this year’s crisis, as given in a front page story in this daily on Friday, says that the syndicate of publishers of textbooks are delaying supply and distribution of secondary level textbooks in open markets to force students buy guidebooks. But the Notebook Prohibition Act-1980 clearly forbids printing and marketing of such notebooks for Classes up to VII. Only notebooks of class VIII or above can be printed and marketed with prior permission of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). But it appears that the law remains only in paper and is hardly enforced by the relevant authorities.

It is indeed a matter of grave concern that even into one and half months since the academic year began students and guardians are frantically running from market to market in search of textbooks. Extensive coverage of the issue in media and protests from guardians and academics of the country failed to create a dent in the armour of the syndicate. They continue to look as formidable even after a crackdown on unscrupulous publishers by the government taskforce. We therefore believe the government will have to take a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude and go all out to break the evil network that is out to destroy our education sector.

The daily star 14.02.2009


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