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Kenya: Publisher recalls controversial textbook

Jomo Kenyatta Foundation is recalling its Grade Two English textbook following criticism over questionable content, as pressure mounts on the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to enhance its vetting.

The decision to recall the books was arrived at after a meeting with Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, during which the ministry raised concern over the quality of the materials.

“We have recalled, and we are still recalling, the books as we continue printing a revised edition,” said Ms Janet Ngina Nzuki, the corporate affairs officer at the Foundation.

Pupils in Class Two have been using books under the new curriculum, which is being piloted ahead of its roll-out in January.

The KICD said it was remorseful over one widely-criticised page in the book. “We regret the information that has been circulating in social media regarding the content of some textbooks and other educational materials,” said KICD director Julius Jwan.

‘IDOLISING POLITICIANS’

The controversial page contains text and an illustration, where the topic is an MP’s helicopter landing in a school.

“The helicopter landed at our school playground. Three big cars arrived in our compound. They, too, belonged to him. He came out and greeted us. His wife waved at us. She had golden rings in her hand.

He told us that if we do well he will give us a treat. He will lift us up in the skies. I will try my best,” reads part of the text.

Commentators wondered why children should be made to idolise politicians’ showmanship so early in their lives.

Another page in the text asks about the functions of a head. The answer given in the book states that the head is for carrying loads.

“Do Kenya’s curriculum development experts, philosophers, and policymakers agree that the function of an average Kenyan’s head is to carry loads on it?” wondered Dr Lukoye Atwoli on social media.

In May, the East African Educational Publishers had to explain that an image of a page of its Kiswahili Angaza Gredi 1 book that is incorrectly labelled, and which was being shared on social media, was fake.

The image on the purported page 107 of the book contained a mislabelled name of a body part in a figure.

In March, various errors were detected in the Sh7.5 billion Form One textbooks.

The errors were detected in English, Kiswahili, Biology and Physics books.

Some of the errors, include a mix-up of the content ideas, spelling mistakes and poor arrangement of topics.

The Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB) had been tasked with printing Biology textbooks, which also have errors.

Kenya Publishers Association chairman Lawrence Njagi asked KICD to tighten its quality assurance measures to ensure that books that are released to the market are of high quality.

“We want quality books so that pupils are not confused,” said Mr Njagi.

He also warned that delay in releasing the curriculum design for the development of learning materials for Grade Four would adversely affect pupils.

“We need three months to develop the materials. The delay will affect pupils since national piloting of the curriculum is moving to Grade Four,” said Mr Njagi.

Education CS Mohamed recently announced that a team of international experts had been brought in to give their input before the launch.

The new curriculum will be rolled out next year from Grade One to Grade Three while those in Class Four will continue with the piloting, which will now cover all schools and not just 235.​

By Daily Nation

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