ISLAMABAD - Five months have been lapsed since the start of academic session but the students of the schools working under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) are still without textbooks in their classes that were supposed to be provided in April.

It must be mentioned here that new academic session 2012-2013 began in April and the procurement of textbooks as per the actual requirement lags far behind. This is the responsibility of the Directorate to ensure the availability of all text books in the beginning of the academic session in March every year. Since the books are provided free of charge exclusively from the Directorate, so they are not available in the markets too.  And the result is sheer academic loss of the poor students and a great barrier in teaching and learning.

A teacher who teaches English to class IV in a Model College informed, “My students still do not have books of English. It is very difficult to teach them without books. In the 1st term examination too I was asked to set a general English paper of 50 marks instead of 100 marks due to non-availability of book.”

The FDE has been claiming the scheme of provision of free books up to matric level is a great success, but there is none to ensure its continuity and regular provision. As a matter of fact most of the books are not available well in time or made available at the time when it is too late, maintained another schoolteacher.

Parents seem to be worried as they are in search of books all the time. This suffering is least notable by the rich and prosperous because this hardly affects the studies of the affluent as their children go to private schools. They don’t need such type of books rather they study courses such as Oxford and Head Start etc, he added.

According to information though the students have been provided the schoolbooks but they have not been given complete sets of books and the books including English of Class I, English and Urdu of Class IV, English of Class V, Physics, Maths, Islamiat, Biology and English of Class IX, Chemistry, Urdu, and English of Class X are still missing and not been provided despite the passage of five months.

Students of class VII also complain that they have only received books of three subjects while the students of class VIII say that they did not receive three books so far. And the students of IX and X have been complaining for not receiving science subjects’ books. 

A father of a student of class V said, ‘my child doesn’t have the book of English so far. It will be too difficult for my kid to focus on his studies to cover the whole syllabus well in time. If the book is provided to him even now he will have to give extra time to his academic activities to complete the syllabus’.

According to information the directorate was supposed to pay Rs 87.4 million to the National Book Foundation (NBF) for the publication of course books of the current academic session but the Directorate has been able to pay only Rs 37.1 million yet.  And out of the paid amount Rs 3.8 million were released by the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) in the end of June for the payments to NBF that caused delays in publishing and then delivering the books. One of the official of FDE requesting not to be named informed ‘it’s not easy to get released the funds from AGPR. They openly demands commission for releasing bills and we have no extra funds to pay it. How can a clerk can pay the money as commission from his own pocket’, he questioned.

Another reason is that the process involves traditional red tape procedures engaging so many offices and parties. FDE places order late and late payment by the finance department and interests of people who are more interested in their commissions. All these delays in the timely provision of reading material and helping book have made this scheme a wet blanket, added one of the officials.

The FDE Director General Dr Shehnaz A Riaz could not be contacted despite repeated attempts for comments.