None will be spared over textbook gaffes, education minister says
Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-01-10 12:52:30.0 BdST Updated: 2017-01-10 16:38:34.0 BdST
The government is feeling the pressure for errors made in school textbooks, the education minister has said, as he promised not to spare those responsible.
The two officials of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) were made OSD (officer on special duty) after preliminary probe found them 'responsible for two huge errors', said Minister Nurul Islam Nahid at a media conference at the Secretariat on Tuesday.
They will receive 'full punishment' when their faults are proven, he said.
"We are trying to tell everyone that those behind this are not eligible for pardon. They are already OSD, and our probe will find the others responsible and the degree of their crime."
But the minister, despite widespread criticism, felt the work to distribute schoolbooks to children was still a massive undertaking.
"I did not expect this. I will not discuss everything and it's not possible to do that here. I'll be happy if you (reporters) don’t ask questions."
"There are many mistakes, limitations... but it's normal to have flaws. Teachers and others who are responsible should correct those. Children will face harm if people do the opposite of this."
"We are facing damage, criticism... that is a different discussion. But we are all responsible for helping children. I feel we should not do things that could have a negative impact on them."
As for mistakes "that were very much possible by humans", he said, "Maybe we've made plenty of them but that's not the final word."
Over 40 million school students were given more than 360 million textbooks and other school materials on the first day of 2017.
Soon the textbooks riddled with mistakes became the topic of ridicule and astonishment on social media websites. The spelling errors worried many about children being exposed to low quality education.
The NCTB, under fire, formed a committee for reviewing the work.
"Some of those may have been printing mistakes. For those we can announce corrections and let everybody know. Some are more serious mistakes and to fix them we must replace those sections.
"And then there are mistakes that should never have made it to the books. We'll send government orders to omit those. Those pages will be torn out or blocked, that will depend on the situation.
The NCTB is responsible for editing and improving the texts, a work involving expert educators, he said. A book is not printed without the approval of the chief editor.
The work on primary schoolbooks was done in a hurry and there was delay in sending the texts for print because of conditions imposed by the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, the minister said.
About the illustration of a goat trying to eat mangoes from a tree in the Bangla book for first grade, he said, the ministry was looking into the matter.
He said there were 'photo shopped images of goats climbing trees circulating on Facebook'. He also asked if it was right to print that image on newspapers.
The illustration of a girl asking for an 'Orna', a long scarf, beside the O-sounding Bangla letter, was also slammed by critics.
"There are many opinions and we welcome all of them. There are mistakes that should not have been."
The 'Paraninda Bhalo Na' - the Bangla slogan that was transformed to 'Do not Heart Anybody' was an unforgivable error by the editor, he said.
"But there maybe mistakes in words and spellings. But the errors made in the poem Adarsha Chele are unacceptable."
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