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Record highest 326m books distributed among over 44.4m students
A joyful Ilina Jahan went to the capital’s Motijheel Government Boys’ High School premises with her parents yesterday morning to receive new textbooks for her new class distributed for free by the government.
To Ilina, getting new books at the start of every new class has been a matter of festivity since 2010. “I am so happy to get the new books in hand. I was eagerly waiting for this day since completion of my final examination last year,” she said.
Her mother Afroza Begum said: “It is a great joy for the children to get new books at the beginning of a new year. It inspires the children. I found my child going through her new books with much curiosity.”
In addition to Ilina, several thousand students up to class IX of the nearby schools started gathering at the Motijheel school ground from around 8am amid the nationwide dawn-to-dusk hartal called by Jamaat-e-Islami, braving the cold.
The school ground turned colourful because of the students’ presence in uniforms, particularly after the distribution process was inaugurated by freeing colourful balloons. The happiness of the children touched their parents too.
Except for some allegations of mismanagement, the entire distribution programme conducted by the education and mass education ministries, for the sixth time this year, ended successfully throughout the country.
This year as many as 326,347,923 new books printed in four colours were distributed among 44,452,374 students of primary- and secondary-levels including those from madrasas across the country, according to the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB).
The government started the distribution of free books to students up to secondary level in 2010. This year the government has included in the list of free books two more books – Information and Communication Technology and Career Education of class IX and Work and Life-Oriented Education for class VIII.
On December 30, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the free textbook distribution programme at the Ganabhaban by handing over new books to the students. The books had been sent to all the schools well before the formal distribution that began yesterday.
“The anti-liberation forces are observing shut downs to harm the education system of the country. They are trying to foil the festive mood of the innocent students,” Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said at the book distribution programme.
“In 2010, we aimed at bringing all the children to schools. For this, 190 million books were distributed that year; later it was increased to 220m, 240m and then 270m. This year we have distributed the maximum number of books to the maximum number of students,” he added.
Syed Hafizur Islam, principal of the school, said: “It is a great contribution of the government to the education sector. Now all the students are able to get new books at the beginning of every year. Once in hand, they get a whiff of what is to come and start reading the books.”
Such government initiatives are also very supportive for the lower-income people who cannot bear the costs of the books, he said. “It will eventually increase the number of students.”
Primary and Mass Education Minister Mostafizur Rahman and senior government officials attended the programme.