LOCAL publishers are shocked with the Ministry of Education which has continued with its new way of distributing textbooks despite allegations of corruption in the procurement system.

They said after the matter was tabled before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, the ministry should have reverted to the old system of decentralization to allow for all the publishers’ to participate.

“Now the ministry insists that they want to finish what they have started, using the same new system of procuring tender through the centralized system, which means they want to  fix indigenous publishers who were against their decision,” they said.

The publishers alleged that there was no money to finish Phase 1 and 2 and wondered where the ministry would source money to complete the process.

The publishers said it was not too late to revert to the old system even if contracts were signed and to float another tender using the centralized system that disadvantaged the local publishers.

The Ministry of General Education is believed to have awarded a tender of publishing school books to some foreign book publishing companies in unclear circumstances, as the whole process had disadvantaged local companies.

In 2012 the Government floated a tender for books and awarded it  to five publishers on a yearly renewable contract through notification which meant reward of contract.

In 2013 the final syllabus was given and implementation was to start in 2014 beginning with Grades 1, 5, 8 and 10, and publishers have submitted books to Government for evaluation of Grades 1, 5, 8 and 10, 2, 6, 9 and 11.

And the 2014 tender for Grades 1, 5, 8 and 10 was floated and the tender document suggested centralized procurement which disadvantage the publishers who refused to participate in the tender in a bid to correct the situation.

The situation had denied local publishers chance to participate in the process now that the Curriculum Development Centre was moving to phase three in book writing.

Phase one and two was lost because of the same problem and the publishers were still challenging the Ministry of Education on the procurement model used to purchase new curriculum books.

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