THE local publishers have vowed to seek guidance from the wider public on how their interest in textbook publishing and procurement can be protected by the Ministry of Education.
The local publishers have said the irregularities that characterised the recent award of textbook tenders should be stopped and the system reverted to the old one to allow the participation of all stakeholders.
The publishers said now that the matter had been tabled before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, the publishers would seek advice on how to protect the country’s resources.
They have complained that the country was losing colossal sums of money that could have been channeled to other pressing challenges facing the country.
They have suggested that the Ministry of Education should revert to old decentralised procedure of procuring new curriculum textbook.
The local publishers have explained that in the 2013/2014 framework, textbook contracts were delivered but the ministry failed to manage the system and instead wanted to blame publishers. The publishers have described as not transparent the textbook evaluation process. They said a clear book approval system should be put in place so satisfy book publishers.
And some teachers have claimed that the new learning materials distributed to Zambian schools by the Ministry of General Education under the new syllabus had wrong interpretation of outcomes.
The teachers have also said the textbooks were full of foreign concepts which could not be understood by learners. Some teachers on the Copperbelt said the revelations and concerns by local publishers about textbook procurement were justifiable and have urged the ministry’s standards inspectorate to visit the schools to verify the allegations.
The teachers, who sought anonymity for fear of victimization, said that children were the ones affected by the wrong decisions of the Curriculum Development Centre because they were the end users of the unsuitable learning materials.
‘‘We are asking the permanent secretary not to ignore these concerns but come and visit the schools and get our views as teachers using these books, and he will see why the local publishers are complaining,” one of the teachers said.
They have suggested that the Ministry of Education should revert to the decentralized textbook procurement system and strengthen the purchase and supply of textbooks to all public learning institutions.