Students deprived of basic education rights in Pakistan

Students deprived of basic education rights in Pakistan

Students deprived of basic education rights in Pakistan

In light of the government's failure to fix the price of locally produced paper, millions of students nationwide may be forced to study without textbooks in the upcoming academic year.

Aziz Khalid, the chairman of the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Pakistan and the Pakistan Association of Printing & Graphic Arts Industry, claimed that until the government does not regulate the price of paper, publishers won't be able to release textbooks.

Aziz bemoaned the fact that local paper producers have been steadily raising the cost of locally produced paper. Prices of the local paper has jumped by 200% in just a few months.

He further stated that imported paper is superior in quality as compared to the locally produced paper. However, since January of this year, the cost of local paper per kg has increased by Rs 100; as the cost per kilograms rises by Rs. 5-8 per week. Aziz highlighted that because of hefty taxes, publishers are unable to use the imported paper in textbooks.

Local publishers no longer purchase paper for textbooks as a result. Millions of students might be forced to study without textbooks, yet the country’s textbook publishing business could completely collapse as a result.

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Aziz encouraged the government to lower taxes and levies on imported paper in order to ensure the publication of textbooks of a high standard on a global scale. Uncoated woodfree paper was subject to a 10% regulatory duty in the annual budget for FY 2021–22. The tax was applied despite the fact that the same product already had a hefty anti-dumping tariff of 39 percent.

Publishers of textbooks in Lahore indicated earlier this month that they would cease operations as a result of the rising cost of paper. Khalid Pervez, the president of the Traders Association in Lahore, had previously expressed concern over the city's severe textbook scarcity.

The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board's negligence had also been brought to the attention of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (PCTB). Millions of children in the province are now starting the new school year without textbooks due to PCTB's poor administration.

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