HARIPUR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board has failed to ensure availability of books of two subjects of primary grades despite commencement of the new academic session in April, official sources said here on Wednesday.

According to them, as per the government policy the textbook board ensured availability of books in each district before commencement of the new academic session. However, they said the board had yet to make available grade one Urdu book and grade four Islamic Studies book in the market. Due to delay in availability of compulsory books the teachers had to miss the two periods, which according to parents, ultimately led to wastage of time of students.

“It will certainly affect the course coverage,” said Mohammad Tanvir, who has a son studying in grade one and a daughter in grade four at a government school.

He said on one hand the PTI government launched an aggressive campaign to motivate parents to shift their children to government schools, but on the other, it was unable to even supply complete sets of books in the market. He also complained of overcrowding and shortage of furniture in government schools.

When approached for comments, district education officer Umar Kundi confirmed shortage of few textbooks of primary level. He said Islamic Studies book was short because of changes in syllabus, while delay in arrival of Urdu book was due to decades-old manual printing system by the private printers, which failed to timely print millions of books for the entire province every year.

The education officer said although 25 per cent of the private printers that won the bidding for printing the textbooks had switched to computerised printing system that was not enough to ensure time-bound printing and supply of books to students. He said he had talked to the head of KP Textbook Board, who had agreed to ensure availability of the missing books by August 23.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2019