FREE TEXTBOOKS, 143 schools under scanner

Ref: The government is investigating 143 schools in the capital that it believes asked for more free textbooks than they needed.


Strict measures, including suspension of headmasters if the school is a government one, will be taken against those guilty, National Curriculum and Textbook Board officials said on Monday.

Several schools have already been found at fault, said Ratan Siddique, the official in charge of distributing free textbooks.

“41 schools have been checked until Monday,” he said and added that some had been told to return the excess books.

At Pragati High School at Pallabi, he found that they had asked for 293 sets of books for class seven, 119 more than the number of students in that class.

Siddique feared the excess books were taken for sale in the market.

“The police will conduct a drive from Dec 31 to ensure such this does not happen.”

He warned that if the guilty schools did not return the excess books by Jan 7, the government will take tough measures.

“Registration and inclusion in the MPO (Monthly Pay Order) will be cancelled,” he said.

Siddique suspected another 400,000 excess books had gone across the country and promised steps to recover them at the divisional and district level.

DEMAND AFTER DEADLINE

Even though all schools were told to submit their demands for free textbooks by March, 119 new schools requisitioned for 117,000 new textbooks for classes six to nine.

Ratan said they will look into the reasons for demanding books beyond the deadline.

“However, we will provide them with books from the buffer stock,” he added.

According to Board regulations, 15 percent of primary and five percent of secondary books are buffer stocked.

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