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House team wants texts reviewed due to complaints

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The National Assembly Committee on Education has called for reevaluation of textbooks in primary and secondary schools.

This comes in the wake of complains about errors and misleading information in some books. They belong to the 8-4-4 curriculum and were approved in 2004.

The books affect Classes 7 and 8 pupils and Form One books being bought directly from publishers by the government. Previously, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development was delegated to buy and distribute textbooks under a project jointly funded by the World Bank and the national government.

Appearing before the committee yesterday, KICD chief executive officer Julius Jwan dismissed the alarm on errors. He said the books have been in use for over 10 years and the errors could not affect the content.

Jwan said KICD is only allowed to evaluate and approve books when there is a review or reform in the curriculum. He said the institute had instructed publishers to send out a guide to teachers.

“The institute only gets Sh26 million for evaluation, but the cost of the evaluation process is Sh33 million,” Jwan said.

On its part, Kenya Publishers Association said the books currently entering the market have a margin of error of 0.3 per cent. Chairperson Lawrence Njagi said international standards allow books to have up to 10 per cent errors.

According to KICD, the approval rating of the current books in distribution is 95 per cent. Njagi said publishers could not account for Sh5 billion annually that was given to public primary schools to buy textbooks.

According to Njagi, corrupt retailers were collaborating with the schools to overprice and fraudulently acquire money meant to buy textbooks.

“In two years the government distributed over Sh14 billion but only Sh4 billion reached the publishers. The question remains, where did the remaining Sh10 billion disappear to?” Njagi asked.

The first phase of distribution of books is expected to end by April 20. The process has, however, been facing challenges. Publishers say heavy rains and insecurity in some parts of the country are a hinderance.

The first phase covered Standard 7 and 8 Mathematics, Science, English and Kiswahili subjects, while six subjects Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, Biology, Chemistry and Physics were covered in Form One to Four.

The second phase is set to begin next year.