Prime minister Sheikh Hasina today formally inaugurated free textbook distribution programme for the academic year 2020 as the 'National Textbook Festival' is set to be celebrated across the country on January 1.
She formally opened the free textbook distribution programme by handing over books of primary and secondary levels to students at a function at her official Ganabhaban residence.
Earlier, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni handed over a set of textbooks for the JSC and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) to the premier while State Minister for Primary and Primary and Mass Education Md. Zakir Hossen handed over another set of textbooks of Primary Education Completion (PEC) and Ebtedayee.
As many as 3,53,144,554 free textbooks will be distributed to more than 42 million primary and secondary levels students on January 1 across the country for the academic year 2020.
The government has printed these textbooks by maintaining proper standard for pre-primary, primary, secondary, Ebtedayee and SSC level students and all students will get textbooks for free on the first day of the New Year.
Speaking on the occasion, the premier said that the nation is set to celebrate 'National Textbook Festival' across the country on January 1.
"The enjoyment of getting new books is different," she said.
Bangladesh has set a rare example in the world through distribution of free textbooks among large number of students on the first day of January.
Referring to the government's decision to distribute free textbooks, experts said this has reduced the rate of school dropouts and increased the number of students at primary and secondary levels.
They described the initiative of free textbook distribution as a 'milestone' in the education sector as it encouraged students to continue their studies.
The present government started distributing free textbooks from 2010 academic year.
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury, newly appointed PM's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, the outgoing Secretary of Secondary and Higher Education Division Md Sohorab Hossain, PMO Senior Secretary Sajjadul Hassan, Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, Primary and Mass Education Secretary Md Akram-Al-Hossain and Secretary of Secondary and Higher Education Division Md Mahbub Hossain were present on the occasion, among others.