Books not distributed despite start of academic year: Political tussle to blame
KARACHI, Aug 11: Confirming earlier fears, textbooks have not been
completely printed and distributed among school students across Sindh while the
new academic year has already started. The provincial education department is
the main culprit responsible for the delay, insiders in the department said.
Sources said the Sindh Textbook Board (STB) had submitted a summary
with the top education department hierarchy in January, 2007, for the allocation
of printing orders to the publishers. However, it took five months for the
competent authority to approve the allocation order, giving too limited a time
for the publishers to accomplish the gigantic task.
Insiders said the
allocation orders were given to the publishers on May 29, thus a job, which
usually requires around five to six months to complete, was expected to be
completed within a far narrower timeframe.
"Had the allocation orders
been issued to the publishers in March, the work would have been completed in
time," said an insider.
Sources said a dispute
between the provincial education minister and the chief minister had mainly
caused the delay in the issuance of allocation orders. The summary for the
allocation orders, which was submitted by the STB to the education minister, was
later sent to the CM House, where it remained dormant till the end of May when
the publishers got the orders.
The dispute between the two bigwigs came
to an end some five weeks ago when the CM clipped the wings of the education
minister and left only college education under her authority.
between the bigwigs was entirely political, yet millions of schoolchildren in
Sindh were the ultimate sufferers due to delays in getting books.
said the publishers were given allocation orders with the directive to exercise
haste to accomplish the task. But despite all available resources the task
remained unfulfilled as widespread rains, thunderstorms and prolonged
load-shedding and frequent power breakdowns contributed a great deal to slowing
down the operation.
"So far more than half of the textbooks have been
printed and the remainder may be available in September. But it would take a
month or two more for their distribution across Sindh," said a
Besides, the STB wasted some five to six months in the
procurement of paper.
Additionally, 13 new books, the STB said, would be
part of the curriculum for this year including English and Urdu for classes one
and six, mathematics for classes one and six, and Islamiat for classes one,
three and four, and science for classes four and six.
Sources in the
education department said that like the rest of the curriculum, the preparation
and distribution of the 13 new books was also likely to suffer
"It is quite hard to distribute the new books and the old
curricula among the students on time because of various factors, mainly due to
our authorities' disinterest in the education sector," said a source in the
education department. Dawn