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ISLAMABAD: The National Book Foundation (NBF) has so far provided only 41 per cent textbooks to the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

“I agree students should be given books on time, but NBF’s books delivery process is slow,” said an officer of the FDE.

He said as soon as they received books from the NBF they sent them to schools.

“Lack of coordination between the FDE and NBF is the reason behind the delay in supply of books,” said a senior officer of the FDE.

Sources said due to shortage of books attendance in many schools had been low for the last three days.

“In our school students of seven, eight and nine grades don’t have books. Some students are provided old books but majority of them have not even received these books,” said a teacher of Islamabad Model College for Boys, G/7-2.

“We are being supplied books in installments. Around 50 students in my school do not have books; we are trying to overcome this shortage,” said Area Education Officer, Sihala sector, Riaz Ali.

“The newly promoted nine grade students are suffering the most due to absence of books,” he added.

“They could not be provided the required old books as nine graders are still taking examinations,” said a principal, who wished not to be named.

When contacted, Director General FDE Shahnaz Riaz said she had been trying to resolve this issue.

It is relevant to note here that the federal government has been providing free textbooks to students for the last several years. Later, the task to provide free books was given to the educational institution as under Article 25-A education was made free for children aged 5 to 16 years.

Reasons for the delay

On the other hand, officials of the FDE and NBF Dawn spoke to blamed lack of coordination between the two organisations as the reason behind the delay in supply of textbooks.

A senior FDE officer, requesting not to be named, said the directorate inked an agreement with the NBF in February this year, binding it to deliver books by April 10, but the foundation could not fulfil the agreement and till today over 50 per cent books have yet not been delivered.

On the other hand Secretary NBF Aftab Ahmed Soomro said there were reasons behind the delay.

“Singling out NBF will be injustice,” he said, adding that the FDE had engaged the foundation in February instead of September.

“At such a short period, delay is natural. We have to engage several private publishers,” he said.

The secretary said they faced problems while coordinating with the FDE.

“We are also facing shortage of money as every year the FDE pays us very late. Last month, we received the previous year’s dues,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2015

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