Vol. 4 Num 213 Wed. December 31, 2003  
Star City

Printing of over 50 pc textbooks complete

Printing of more than fifty per cent of textbooks for primary and secondary schools and madrassahs are complete and distribution of these books will begin next week, said National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) sources.

About seven out of ten crore books have already been sent to 64 district towns for distribution in phases, they claimed.

Of the two crore books for secondary students, printers have finished fifty per cent of the job and books will be available in phases at different bookstalls across the country from January 4, they said.

Printing of one crore 89 lakh books for madrassahs are also almost complete, sources added.

Discord between NCTB and associations of printers and publishers this year had made uncertain the printing of textbooks in time.

Though the deadline to finish the printing job was December 14, the printers took delivery of NCTB procured paper only a week before the deadline.

As most of printers could not start their job in time there was doubt whether they would at all be able to finish the gigantic task before start of the academic year.

The Bangladesh Book Publishers and Sellers Association agitated against the NCTB for giving 92 per cent of the job to only 43 organisations, in a work order that allegedly violated conditions in the tender.

Demanding removal of 'corrupt' NCTB officials they staged different protest programmes including a three-hour token hunger strike. They also submitted a memo to President Iajuddin Ahmed, demanding proportionate redistribution of all textbooks to 324 listed organisations by cancelling the previous allocation to 43 organisations.

Later the Prime Minster's Office reportedly intervened in the matter and asked the NCTB authorities to cancel the 'letter of offer' issued to the 43 organisations.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is likely to formally inaugurate the textbook distribution at a function in the city soon.