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EDITORIAL: The government should settle textbook policy

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Elimu (Education Forum)' started by BAK, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Apr 13, 2009
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
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    EDITORIAL: The government should settle textbook policy




    THE ongoing spat between the government and education stakeholders should not be taken lightly by policy-makers in the sector. While the whole country looks to ways of putting in place policies that would bring life to the education sector, which has suffered under the weight of a myriad of problems, the government should not be seen as either standing in the way or creating more problems by its ’strategic’ moves.

    Although its plans to publish school textbooks and build a state run printing press might seem like pure genius, the underlying effects might come back to haunt us in a foreseeable future. Before the government implements its plan, it should consider whether it is wise to put many book publishers out of work.

    It should also strike them that their move of streamlining the sector through publishing school books that reflect homogeneity throughout the country could come at the cost of enriching students with a wealth of knowledge which is normally gained through reading an assortment of various authors’ works.

    As some of the authors have pointed out, it would be very shrewd on the government’s part to come up with a list of textbooks that it prefers as relevant material to be used in schools and let the publishers and printers do what they do best since these are areas of their specialization. This would be a guideline for readers and educators seeking relevant educational material.

    In the absence of a formidable policy on choice of educational materials, many educational institutions have continued to use unvetted material that are shallow and substandard. Inspired by the urge to make an extra buck, head teachers and rogue authors have formed a cartel where the former gain from kickbacks so long as these authors get tenders to supply schools with books.

    What the government should be concentrating on therefore is reigning in on rogue publishers with the aim of rooting them out, while at the same time approving authors whose books are marks of quality. By creating a pool of approved textbooks, the government will be affording readers with a rich reference resource from which to nourish their minds.

    The government’s move to embrace the work of the private sector through nationalizing publishing of educational materials defeats the principles of privatization and specialization. If it decided to go ahead with its plans, then its move would seem like we are retrogressing instead of doing the opposite.

    In the end, the importance of the government’s move can only be rated on account of its success in creating quality education in the country. Otherwise it would have failed miserably.

    The education of the current and future generations is paramount if this country thirsts for a brighter future.