POST TIME: 1 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM
No textbook in Santal language this year, too
Staff Reporter

No textbook in Santal
language this year, too

The government is going to celebrate the annual Textbook Festival Day by distributing free books to over four crore students across the country today. However, Santal students, like the previous year, are going to be deprived of textbooks in their own language this year. National Curriculum Textbook Board (NCTB) sources said the government would distribute a total of 354,290,162 free textbooks among 4,37,6,895 students from primary to Class X in different schools. Of these, 114,634 books in five indigenous languages—Chakma, Marma, Garo, Tripura and Sadri—would be given to pre-primary and Class-I students in 24 districts.

Santal students will not get the books this year, too, due to a lingering dispute among the community over the printing of the language.

As per the National Education Policy, 2010, indigenous students at the primary level should study in their own mother tongues. Accordingly, the government has been distributing textbooks among students of indigenous communities since 2016.

But Santal students have been deprived of the government scheme as the community’s leaders have a conflict over whether the language in the textbooks should be printed in Bengali or Roman letters.

Gias Uddin Ahmed, the additional secretary of the primary and mass education ministry, yesterday said a meeting will be held with Santal leaders on January 8 to discuss the issue.


“If needed, the textbooks will be printed in both in Bengali and Roman scripts. All matters will be settled at the meeting,” he added.

The 24 districts where textbooks in indigenous languages would be distributed are Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Chittagong, Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Jamalpur, Sherpur, Netrakona, Mymensingh, Tangail, Naogaon, Natore, Sirajganj, Dinajpur, Joypurhat, Rajshahi, Khulan, Narayanganj, Chandpur, Feni, Cox’s Bazar, Sunamganj, and Chapainawabganj.

According to the aims and objectives of the National Education Policy, 2010, the government would take steps “to facilitate learning in the mother languages of the indigenous people and small ethnic groups at the primary level”.

Besides, Article 18 of the education policy states: “Measures will be taken to ensure the availability of teachers from ethnic groups and to prepare texts in their own languages so that ethnic children can learn their own indigenous languages. In these initiatives, especially in preparing textbooks, the inclusion of respective indigenous communities will be ensured.”

The government would also distribute 18,108 textbooks in Braille for visually impaired students at the primary level, sources said.

Meanwhile, the education ministry and the primary and mass education ministry have arranged separate programmes in Dhaka to kick off the book distribution festival.

While education minister Nurul Islam Nahid would launch the festival at the Azimpur Government Girls School and College field at 10 am, primary and mass education minister Mostafizur Rahman would kick it off at the Dhaka University central playground at the same time.

Sources said the primary and mass education ministry would distribute 103,625,480 books from Class I to Class V among 2,49,83,993 students. And students in the pre-primary level would get 3,411,825 books. On the other hand, the education ministry would distribute 247,252,857 books.

The sources said that all the textbooks have been sent to the respective educational institutions for distribution today.

The government has been observing January 1 as Textbook Festival Day since 2010. Since then, the government has given a total of 2,608,591,290 free textbooks.

It had distributed around 19 crore free books in 2010, 23.31 crore books in 2011, 22.13 crore books in 2012, 26.17 crore books in 2013, 29.96 crore books in 2014, 32.63 crore in 2015, and 35.07 crore books in 2016.