By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – The Ministry of Education announced last Thursday that many containers of books, published overseas, arrived at the Port of Djibouti. The books expected to address the shortage of textbooks in secondary schools will be distributed in three weeks time, according to the Ministry. The plan is that a single text book will reportedly be shared by four students.
Data obtained from the Ministry of Education indicates that 20.6 million students from pre-primary to secondary level enrolled in this academic year. The number of high school students is 2.1 million. However, textbooks have not yet been distributed to students even a month after the start of the academic session.
Last Wednesday a representative of parliament raised questions related to the provision of textbooks and teachers guides when the Minister of Education presented a performance report. In the situation where there are insufficient book resources, “how can students be expected to achieve better academic results and how can the quality of education be maintained”? These were among the questions posed to the senior officials of the Ministry of Education.
The Minister of Education Birhanu Nega (professor) responded to the questions. He reminded that publishing and distributing text books of high schools is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. Accordingly, the ministry has given priority and diverted about 45 million dollars from other projects for the purpose of publishing the text books, according to him.
Professor Birhanu pointed out that it was a Japanese publishing company named “Topan” that offered the lowest price in the international tender floated publicly by the Ministry. As a result, high school textbooks are being published in Japan. Of the published text books, the first 20 containers arrived at Djibouti port earlier, some 15 days ago, Birhanu said.
Professor Birhanu disclosed in his briefing at the Parliament that the first round of books have not yet been distributed to schools due to transportation problems. However, the ministry had a discussion with cargo transport companies and reached an agreement to transport the text books. Therefore, the entire 249 containers of textbooks that have arrived so far at the port of Djibouti would be distributed to schools within two to three weeks, Birhanu said.
At least one book will be shared by four high school students within the next three weeks, Professor Birhanu told the MPs. The ministry expects that “one text book will be shared by two students before the end of the next semester”.
According to the information obtained from the Ministry of Education, there is a plan to publish and distribute this academic year 20.6 million text books. Some 8.3 million books will reportedly be distributed to students in the first round.
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