LOCAL publishers of textbooks have decided to boycott the Ministry of General Education tenders of education materials because the whole process was allegedly tainted with malpractice, it has been learnt.
The publishers said the fact that the ministry has continued with their new way of distributing textbooks despite allegations of corruption in the procurement system means it would not work for the locals because they already had their preferred companies. And the publishers revealed that a number of local publishing companies in Zambia would face closure and job losses because of lack of business.
The local companies would be out of business because they could no longer compete in the market, meaning that the publishers who did not win a tender from 2013-2017 would be out of business for a period of five years.
“Even if we were to take part in the bids for the tender yet to be advertised, nothing will work in our favour because the new process only favoures those companies they preferred for reasons best known to them,”one of the local publishers said.
Initially 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’ participation.
“The contracts were signed and the ministry is yet to float for another tender for Grades 3, 7 and 12 using the centralized system that disadvantaged the local publishers,” the publisher said.
The publishers said the stakeholders involved in the system were unable to see anything wrong with the process because they were only interested in their own benefit, adding that the parents must take an interest in the quality of education their children were receiving.
They wondered why the Ministry of Education ignored all the complaints that had been received regarding the wrong materials some schools countrywide received.