NCTB compromises with textbook quality

NCTB is compromising with the quality of school textbooks in its rush to meet the printing deadline, teachers and guardians alleged. The present government has been offering free textbooks to school students on the first day of the year; and National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) is the sole authority to carry out the job.

But, wide-ranging allegations are being raised by different sections of society that the textbooks printed and distributed by NCTB are full of spelling mistakes and the language is also not up to the mark. Students often find it difficult to understand them. The goals and objectives of the NCTB are to improve the quality of the curriculum and textbooks, to arrange for textbook printing and distribution, and to enhance the skills of teachers through training.

At present, the NCTB allegedly has veered far from the set goals. Printing of textbooks has become their main task. Officials said the main task of the NCTB was to improve the quality of the curriculum and textbooks and to enhance the skills of teachers through training. For last 25 years, the government has taken up the program of handing over books to the students. Because of this, the NCTB itself shoulders the responsibility of printing the books through calling tenders. As a result, throughout the year the research officers of the institute work in the printing press to monitor how the books are being printed. The NCTB is not taking any effective initiative on how to keep curriculum development away from print monitoring task.

Professor Farhadul Islam, a member of the NCTB (textbook), acknowledged the matter and said that due to manpower crisis, curriculum personnel and research officers are involved in supervising printing work. Again, there is not sufficient number of researchers on the subjects. He also questioned the process of posting (Podayon) and promotion.

NCTB member (curriculum) Professor Md Mashiuzzaman said the curriculum development suffers because of book printing work. He said during establishment of NCTB, textbook printing was not considered as its responsibility. As a result, no manpower was placed on the organogram. He also mentioned the need for new manpower in this regard.

An NCTB official said NCTB is a specialized educational institute. Long-standing demands for qualified officers were there for research. But that's not happening. Those concerned say that NCTB needs talented and competent subject based teachers for curriculum development. But there isn’t a single one. They complained that many of the curriculum experts prefer to stay in Dhaka. How do they perform the task of research? What role do they play in curriculum development? Many of them are known as relatives of the top officials of the Ministry of Education. 

There are also influential ministers-MPs in the ranks. Several officials, who were in the NCTB's headquarters, said that the position and work style of NCTB has to change. The way other departments and boards get posts, NCTB should also follow the same procedure. Many have been posted in NCTB as there is no vacancy in Dhaka so that people can come to the capital. But here you are supposed to get posts after facing tests.

In this regard, NCTB Chairman Professor Narayan Chandra Saha said that due to manpower crisis, everyone has to be involved in the printing work. However, NCTB has a new policy which will increase the manpower. He said the new policy has a separate wing for research. He said the ministry was thinking of getting qualified people for NCTB.