Stick on corrections to guarantee quality books, publishers told

Publishers selected to supply Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) course materials for grade five to schools have been asked to guard against release of substandard books to the market.

Those who will fail to make corrections as per the feedback from the evaluators will not be allowed to pass on books with errors to schools, according to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

“No publisher will be granted ‘approved by KICD’ status until all corrections have been done to the satisfaction of curriculum specialists in the respective learning area,” KICD Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Joel Mabonga said yesterday, in Nairobi.

The ultimatum follows concerns that some unscrupulous traders keen to portray the evaluation exercise as a sham usually sponsor circulation of substandard and fake books, especially on social media platforms.

Whereas the Government is purchasing one book per learning area for learners to bridge the pupil-textbook ratio, other books that have been approved to enhance teaching and learning are also available in the market. Publishers can also improve other books that though not among those being purchased by the government, were found suitable for curriculum delivery. “But, to avoid being misled, one has to refer to the Orange book available on the KICD website, which contains a list of the approved books,” Dr Mabonga said.

The unveiling of the list of books is a deliberate measure to ensure the country is prepared for grade grade five roll-out, given that the new curriculum being implemented in phases, is currently up to grade four. “As we monitor the COVID-19 trends, we have to ensure the curriculum implementation process is up to date to ensure quality and timeliness on distribution of course materials to schools,” said Dr. Mabonga.

Publishers have until July 15 to re-submit the course materials in 16 learning areas (Subjects) to KICD for final verification before printing and distribution to schools are sanctioned. The institute received applications from 181 submissions of course materials from 28 publishers out of which, 75-course materials from 18 publishers met the threshold. Out of the 18 publishers that were invited to tender for the government distribution of course materials, nine were awarded to supply the books to public schools, an exercise likely to start in September when schools reopen.

Moran Publishers will supply English, Kiswahili and IRE (Kenya Literature Bureau), Maths (Mentor publishers), Home Science and Agriculture (Mountain Top), Art and Craft (Book Mark Africa), Science and Technology and Social Studies (East African Education Publishers), CRE (Longhorn), Music (JKF) and Physical and Health Education (Spotlight).

Whereas books in French, Arabic, Mandarin, and Indigenous Languages that met the set criteria are ready, their distribution to schools was put on hold because they are optional subjects and there is a need to wait for schools to resume to establish the number of learners interested in the subjects. The books were evaluated based on conformity to the curriculum designs, skills and concepts coverage, and development, language use where grammar, editorial quality, sentence structure, and appropriateness of vocabulary to the targeted level of learning was assessed.

Other considerations were that illustrations and layout had to be friendly to the targeted learners and each pupil’s book must have a teacher’s guide indicating how teachers are being guided on implementation of curriculum designs. “Colours used in the illustrations must be clear, realistic and appropriately used to pass the intended message without leaving room for guess work. The organization of content in the book must be top notch,” Dr Mabonga said.

The evaluators coordinated by curriculum developers from KICD were drawn from the Ministry of Education’s quality assurance and standards directorate, teachers training colleges, Kenya National Examination Council, TSC secretariat, teachers from primary and secondary schools, and universities.