Chairman Publishers Association commended Home Minister's role in promoting books during meeting at Home Ministry's office

The image released on Dec 11, 2023 shows caretaker Sindh Information, Minorities Affairs Minister Ahmed Shah and caretaker Education Minister Rana Hussain addressing a press conference at Sindh Assembly. — APP

The ongoing conflict between publishers and the education department in Sindh has led to a halt in the printing of textbooks, posing a potential setback for students in the province.

The Department of Education said that it takes a minimum of four months to print and deliver textbooks. So, if the academic year begins in April, it will not be possible for the children to have textbooks, the department said, adding hence, the decision has been made to start the academic year in August due to the potential unavailability of study materials.

Publishers asserted that the removal of Agha Sohail Pathan, the former chairman of the Sindh Textbook Board, intentionally created the crisis of books availability. They claimed that Pathan's timely advertisement would have ensured books were available on time. The publishers expressed concern that the deliberate move of Pathan's sacking could leave students without textbooks midway through the academic year.

Caretaker Home Minister Haris Nawaz has got himself into the picture, meeting with Chairman of the Publishers Association Aziz Khalid on Wednesday. The minister took the unusual step of summoning education department officials directly to his office, bypassing the Education Minister, pressuring them to resolve the dispute with publishers.

Education Minister Rana Hussain, upon learning of this intervention, expressed concerns about the Home Minister's actions. 

When contacted, the Home Minister clarified that he urged a swift resolution, emphasising the potential suffering of students in the province if the matter isn't promptly resolved.

Chairman Publishers Association Aziz Khalid commended the Home Minister's role in promoting books during the meeting at the Home Ministry's office. He said he assured the Government of Sindh of cooperation, praising the Home Minister's commendable efforts.

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