Parents demand probe on book that has foul language

Parents demand probe on book that has foul language. [Photo: Courtesy]

Parents now want the Ministry of Education to probe the upsurge of textbooks with unsuitable language that are presented to pupils.

Kenya National Parents Association Chairman Nicholas Maiyo yesterday said it was not a coincidence that the books found their way to schools, adding that the source must be investigated.

“How can such books be printed and placed in front of children to read? This is not by chance, it is a collaboration,” said Mr Maiyo.

He said the institutions in charge of textbooks quality and standards must be taken to task to explain how the books were allowed into the market.

“Even those who stock the books, how could it be that they don’t know the books they sell,” said Maiyo.

The parents' representative was reacting to revelations of a book with vulgar language that was in shelves of various bookshops.

StoryMoja publishers printed the book titled Blood Ties.

Uproar and panic yesterday greeted the revelations of the contents of the textbooks, with parents and schools asked to take them back.

Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) has distanced itself from the textbook.

“The book is not approved by KICD. It is not listed in the Orange Book that contains a list of all books that schools should use for teaching and learning,” Jwan Julius, KICD Chief Executive Officer said.

StoryMoja Managing Editor Monity Odera admitted that the book was not approved by KICD.

“Whereas we have not ascertained the authenticity of the allegations that the aforementioned title was recommended for Class Six pupils, we would like to clarify that this title was recommended for high school readers and above,” said Ms Odera.

Textbook Center, which stocked the book, said it had taken necessary measures to keep its copies off its shelves.

“We shall not be stocking the above book. We have pulled the book off our shelves and requested the publisher to recall the book,” Textbook Center said in a statement.

“Our sincere gratitude goes out to citizens of goodwill who brought this matter to our attention,” the statement read.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Education issued a statement warning school heads and parents against purchasing unapproved books.

In a circular to all regional directors of education and county directors of education, the ministry says it has noted with concern that some schools are procuring unapproved books that contain unsuitable content.

The circular, dated September 19, and signed by Elyas Abdi, the ministry's Director General, instructs the officials to ensure strict adherence to the list in the Orange Book.

“You are, therefore, required to bring to the immediate attention of all principals and headteachers that only books listed in the Orange Book are allowed for use in schools,” reads the circular.

The Kenya Publishers Association Chairman Lawrence Njagi said it was unfortunate that books with inappropriate material find their way into the school system.  

“It is the duty of every publisher to ensure their books meet not only the basic threshold but actually are of the highest standards,” said Mr Njagi, adding that the concerned publisher was addressing the issue.

He said the book should not be used in schools, public or private.