Private firms stop printing schoolbooks in KP over payment delays.

PESHAWAR -- The privately-owned printing companies commissioned by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board have stopped producing school textbooks over the provincial government's reluctance to release funds triggering fears about a delay in the provision of books to students at the start of the upcoming academic year.

Sources told Dawn that the provincial government hadn't provided the board with a single penny from the projected costs of Rs10 billion for printing 60 million textbooks in the academic year 2023-24, which begins on April 1.

They claimed that the KPTB issued reminders to the finance department every week for the immediate release of funds to ensure that the books are printed and distributed on time to prevent the students' learning loss.

'It is once again requested that balance amount of Rs9 billion as committed by your office vide letter No BOV/FD/2-47/2022-23 KPTBH dated 15-11-2022 may kindly be released the earliest as some of the printers have completed 100 per cent supply of the textbooks for the academic year 2023-24 and demanding of payment according to the contract agreement executed by this office with printers concerned,' read a letter written by the textbook board to the finance secretary on Jan 10.

Minister claims production of books under way, Rs1bn released lately, Rs4bn to follow by 20th

The government provides textbooks to the students of its schools free of charge.

A printing company's owner told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the new academic year began in April, so the textbook board, in order to ensure the distribution on time, began supplying books to the district education offices on March 1.

When contacted, elementary and secondary education minister Shehram Khan Tarakai claimed that there was no funding issue for payments to printing firms.

'According to my information, the printing of textbooks are in progress,' he told Dawn.

The minister said the finance department had released Rs1 billion a couple of days ago and would release Rs4...

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