The Education Ministry has sought assurance from the Treasury to secure the required funding for the printing of textbooks for all grades for this year. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha told Education Times that the Treasury has agreed to release the money in phases on a weekly basis so that as printing is completed payments could be made. Minister Premajayantha said that the estimated cost for the printing of all books would be Rs 9 billion. The State Printing Corporation (SPC) will be printing 14 million copies while the private sector will print 18 million copies.
A total of 352 categories of books would be printed. He said some of the private sector printers had sought a 20 percent advance for the printing of the books, though the usual practice has been to make payments after the printing is completed. He said following a discussion with 22 company representatives, with the involvement of the Treasury officials, and the Indian High Commission it was agreed to complete the printing by March. It was also agreed to make an advance payment. The Indian High Commission has promised to provide printing material under the Indian credit line.
Already 44 containers have arrived, with a similar number due by the end of the month. The Ministry has decided to provide new books for primary class students, while for Grades above 6, 40 percent will receive re-useable books. Though most of the books will be ready by March some of the books marked as Part II will be printed by the next term. This year the first term of school starts in April. -DWI