President López Obrador offered an assurance on Friday that in spite of a delay in the printing, textbooks will be ready by the start of the school year on August 26.
“We still have two months, and we’re making an effort to get the books ready for the start of the new school year,” he said in his morning press conference on Friday. “There’s still time, and the government is efficient, because even though we inherited an arthritic elephant lying on its side, we’ve put it on its feet again, and we’ve been pushing it forward, so it’s very likely that we’ll have the books on time.”
Printing has been delayed by at least two months because of issues during the bidding process, especially for the purchase of paper. Bidding was cancelled four times, and a contract that was awarded to Bio-Pappel was cancelled because the company is owned by Miguel Rincón, a friend of the president.
Direct award contracts with four other paper providers were made in early May, but the process was already behind schedule.
This week, 35.1% of the 176 million textbooks had been delivered to state delegations, while last year at this time, 71% of books had been delivered.
Faced with the possibility that there will be no books on the first day of class, some schools are looking for alternatives. Fernando Trujillo Jiménez, León delegate for the Guanajuato Education Secretariat, said that if there are still no textbooks by August 26 teachers will use a digital guide that contains the official curriculum materials.
Such guides will be easy to design because the content has not changed since the last school year.