KICD directs publishers to recall unauthorised books

Aida Tabu purchases books for her grade 6 daughter Winter Ruth at Gohil bookshop in Kakamega town on January 7, 2024. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) has directed publishers to withdraw all unauthorised learning materials from the market.

KICD Chief Executive Charles Ong’ondo said the government will mount a crackdown to mop up all books not fit for learners.

Prof Ong’ondo regretted that publishers are taking advantage of innocent parents, especially private institutions who procure books directly from the market.

In an interview with The Standard, he said that although the government procures books directly from the publishers to schools, many books have found their way to the shelves without the approval of the agency.

This he said continues to violate established laws and compromise the quality of education in the country.

“We have a lot of unapproved materials finding their way to schools. We are mandated to safeguard the integrity and quality of education in our schools,” Ong’ondo said.

The KICD boss emphasised that only books approved by the agency and labelled for marketing for use should be in the market. 

“Some of the books we see on bookshop shelves and on the streets do not have our seal. This means they are not approved for learner’s consumption. We want to rid them from the market,” he said.

He pointed out that some books under encyclopedias used by pupils in basic education are bulky, contain repetitive questions and answers and are not suitable for use by learners in the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

Ong’ondo urged parents to ensure the books purchased for their children are appropriate and recommended by the government.

“Although study materials are important in curriculum delivery, they must meet the standards to ensure learners are not treated to misleading content,” he said.

The KICD boss reiterated that publishers are required to seek approval before marketing their books.

“This will ensure the resources meet the diverse learning needs of students and support effective pedagogical practices,” he stated.

Ong’ondo said the CBC highlights the need for alignment with educational objectives.

He called upon the government to advise schools against using unapproved books and collaborate with law enforcers to arrest the situation.

Ong’ondo warned that any publisher who contravenes the order will risk disqualification from future government procurement.

This comes after the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) released the report on the 2022 KCSE candidate’s performance.

In the report released by Knec Chief Executive David Njeng’ere, examiners raised concerns over the suitability of materials used in teaching and learning in schools which have compromised the quality of education in the country

The poor performance in majority of questions is linked to use of unauthorised materials.

“Teachers should desist from using unapproved revision materials and instead set their own standard tests for revision. Some of these revision materials are misleading to teachers and the learners,” reads the recommendation.

For the last two years, the number of students who qualify to join universities is below the capacity of institutions.

“They do not have the correct content while others are out of the syllabus.”

Two years ago, Basic Education, Director General Elyas Abdi directed principals and head teachers to examine the orange book and select the title recommended by the government.

The Orange Book also contains the criteria and procedure for the selection of books.

Dr Abdi said the listing of the course books for early-year learning is done by each level and grade according to the title within each learning area.

In a circular to all regional and county directors of education, he cautioned against selecting unapproved books.

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