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Students unlikely to get textbooks on time

One third of JSSK machines to print ballot papers

Kathmandu, March 17, 2017: Hundreds of thousands of students of public schools may not get their textbooks on time this new academic session as well, as the state-owned printer will have to dedicate one third of its capacity to printing ballot papers for local level elections set for May 14.

The new school session starts in about a month and the Janak Siksha Samagri Kendra (JSSK), the state entity responsible for printing textbook, so far has completed only 40 percent of its target of printing 19.5 million units of textbooks.

The JSSK, which started printing school textbooks five months ago, has so far 12 million units, including those from old stock, ready for distribution.

The JSSK now will have to rely on 13 out of its 20 printing machines that are operational to print textbooks, as seven will be printing ballot papers.

The JSSK has to print around 8 million units of textbooks in the next 28 days to make sure students get their books as soon as the new academic session starts.

Amid this, the JSSK has new responsibility on its shoulders. It has to print around 180 million units of ballot papers for local elections and is scheduled to start printing them from Saturday. According to JSSK officials, it will take around 40 days to complete the printing work.

JSSK Executive Director Madhav Timilsina, however, said since the machines that were used for printing book covers will be used to print ballot papers, there won’t be much effect on textbook printing work.

The JSSK has also decided to seek Sajha Prakashan’s help to print around three million units of textbooks. But even then, there will be a shortfall of around five million units of books.

During its full-fledged operation, the JSSK readies around 100,000 units of books a day and by this rate, it will take around 50 days to meet the target.

“The JSSK cannot meet the target,” said Sarita Aryal, vice-chairperson of Guardians Association Nepal, who is also a member of Central Textbook Monitoring Committee led by the director general of the Department of Education. The Ministry of Education has already allocated Rs 1.88 billion for distributing textbooks for free to around 6.8 million students from 29,000 public schools across the country.

By the numbers
20      Printers of Janak Sikshya Samagri Kendra (JSSK) that are operational
7        Printers to be used to print ballot papers
180    Million units of ballot papers that JSSK needs to print in around 40 days
19.5   Million units of textbooks that JSSK needs to print for the new academic session
12      Million units of textbooks ready for distribution so far
3        Million units of textbooks to be printed by Sajha Prakashan
6.8     Million school students entitled to free textbooks
By Binod Ghimire