Bangladesh has 42 million children in its primary and secondary school, and every year, on the first day of the year, the kids are handed, free of charge, new textbooks to take them through the academic year.

In total, 353,144,554 textbooks are being handed out directly or delivered to schools as part of the now annual National Textbook Festival, first launched in 2010.

The initiative is said to have reduced the school drop-out rate for older children and encouraged enrolment of younger children in the education system.

Read more at the Dhaka Tribune.

No word here about how much this costs the government each year, but of course the long-term benefits for the country more than justify the expense, and of course said expense will be lightened by the economies of scale such volume brings to the process.

It’s an initiative we’d love to see emulated across the globe in this new decade.

The National textbook Festival comes one month before the start of Bangladesh’s largest book fair, the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, which runs the entire month of February and that in the past two years has seen book sales valued at close to $10 million.