Sale of illegal guidebooks for primary and secondary students continues unbridled at bookshops across the country in the name of exercise or suggestion books, standing in the way of creative education.
Although, according to law, publishing of guidebooks are prohibited, such books are being printed and marketed cashing in on their high demand among the students.
Educationists say students at the primary and secondary levels read guidebooks as they cannot depend of ‘low-quality’ textbooks for obtaining good results in the examinations.
The quality of textbooks must be increased to reduce students’ dependence on guidebooks otherwise creative education method introduced by the government will prove dysfunctional.
While visiting Nilkhet, Bangla Bazar and Aziz Super Market in the capital, our correspondent saw that guidebooks in the name of exercise or suggestion books are being sold at bookshops there.
Six-grade student Suraya Khatun came with her mother to buy ‘so-called’ exercise books from Nilkhet book market. She bought a set of exercise books from this market.
Suraya’s mother said, “The syllabus has been arranged in such a way that students find it difficult to understand it.“I came here to buy guidebooks for my daughter.”
“The government distributes free textbooks only to promote guidebooks. Textbooks should be made easy before speaking against notebooks or guidebooks,” she said.
Tahsina Islam, mother of seven-grade student, said, “Textbooks are not easy to understand. We are compelled to give guidebooks to our children for their good results in the exams.”
“The authorities concerned should simplify the textbooks so that students can find questions and their answers from there. Only by doing this, dependence on guidebooks will reduce,” she added.
According to the Education Act-2016, only digital educational materials can be published but printing of guidebooks or notebooks is prohibited.
If a anybody publishes a notebook or guidebook, he/she will suffer six months’ imprisonment or a fine of Tk 2 lakh, as per the law.
According to the Notebook Prohibition Act-1980, no notebooks or such type of books for the students of Class-II to Class-VIII can be printed and marketed.
Besides, the law states that notebooks or guidebooks for the students above Class VIII cannot be printed or marketed without permission of the NCT authorities.
The Supreme Court on December 9, 2009 upheld a High Court verdict that banned both guidebooks and notebooks.
Contacted, Alamgir Sikder Loton, ex-president of Bangladesh Publishers and Book Sellers Association said, as per a newspaper report, around 80 percent teachers do not understand creative education method.
“Most of the teachers cannot understand creative education method. In this situation, our books are greatly helping the students across the country,” he added.
Loton, also a publisher of Akash, a creative publishing company of Sikder Press and Publications, said textbooks published by NCTB contain lots of errors. “The quality of our books is far better.”
He also mentioned that exercise books are available in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “I cannot understand why publishing of such books will be prohibited in Banglades.”
Educationist Prof. Dr M Kaykobad said textbooks should be understandable for the students. “If we can do it, students won’t read practice books and run after private tutors,” he noted.