Local book publishers have been asked to focus on quality of reading material as they fast track the process Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) course materials.
Already President Uhuru Kenyatta has unveiled a new state department to oversee the ongoing implementation of CBC.
During publishers training that attracted more than 150 publishers ahead of submission of the curriculum support materials for evaluation, the publishers agreed to uphold integrity during the exercise.
The publishers training is meant to enhance the quality of the course materials submitted for evaluation.
The course materials submitted for approval will be evaluated against the curriculum designs to ensure that the publishers align the content in the books with what teachers are expected to teach, according to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).
“We want the publishers to correctly interpret the curriculum designs so that they develop course materials that speak to the designs. When an error is detected in a book, it is KICD that takes the blame,” said KICD Director Prof. Charles Ong’ondo.
Speaking during the official opening of the event in at the Bible Translation and Literacy Centre, in Kiambu County, Prof Ong’ondo asked the publishers to stick to deadlines set for submitting the course materials for approval to ensure they are evaluated in May when teachers will be on holiday, so that the books can be ready for use when learners join Grade six.
“This is Covid-19 period and we shall not have any other time to evaluate due to revised school calendar. The books will not be eligible for purchase by the government if they are not ready on time,” said Prof Ong’ondo.
The content of the training included lessons on the need for the publishers to conform to the curriculum when developing the course materials, learning activities to be covered in the materials, skills and concepts development, and promoting value based education.
CBC is being implemented in phases from PP1, PP2 and Grade 1-4 with the current pioneers expected to join Grade 5 in July 26, this year due to the changes in the school calendar precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kenya Publishers Association Chairman Lawrence Njagi said they are ready to put in extra time to deliver the CBC course books on time and appealed to the director to guarantee a free, fair and verifiable evaluation process.
“A level playing field guarantees will see both losers and winners congratulate each other,” said Njagi.
He explained that the Kenyan publishing industry is admired regionally for its unrivalled performance and the publishers have no excuse to compromise on quality.
“We have the interests of the learners at heart and as the market leaders in the region, we are not ready to relinquish that position,” said Njagi.
Prof Ong’ondo sought to assure the publishers that the evaluation process will be above board and all players will have an equal chance of competing for the business opportunities.
He said the Institute will undertake due diligence that include checking the publishers’ tax compliance status and any form of conflict of interest before allowing one to bid for the development of course materials.