How KICD can boost publishing

George Magoha

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha briefs media after attending a consultative meeting at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) on July 30, 2020.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The direct procurement model the Ministry of Education implemented in the book distribution process has already killed the bookseller.
  • KICD could guide publishers on how to make their books better and then allow them to take these books directly to the market.

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) recently released the evaluation results for Grade Six competency-based curriculum (CBC) learning materials and set off a storm.

The few publishers who received favourable results are in celebration mood while those whose materials did not make it are distressed. 

The direct procurement model the Ministry of Education implemented in the book distribution process has already killed the bookseller. The punitive evaluation process is now on the verge of stagnating growth of the publishing industry.

Undoubtedly, publishers who submitted their titles and paid the prohibitive vetting fees believed in their products, both in terms of content and commercial merit.

KICD could guide publishers on how to make their books better and then allow them to take these books directly to the market. The institute can thereafter monitor and issue consumer alerts on unsuitable books.

Containing piracy

The excessive controls in place are a hindrance to business operations for law-abiding publishers. Conversely, the same restrictions have created a breeding ground for piracy and the black market. 

The few titles KICD approves get pirated and bona fide publishers lose their sweat to the black market. Sadly, the laws meant to contain piracy appear inadequate and some of the officers could be part of the piracy cartels.

After allowing publishers to take their curriculum support material directly to the market,  KICD can then, discreetly, buy samples and evaluate them. They can also pilot the materials with teachers, parents, guardians and learners.  

KICD can then determine the books to buy and award the government tenders. A single tender can be awarded to  several publishers,  for example with 40 per cent going to the number one title and 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent to the second, third and fourth.

This would enable learners in public schools to access a variety of books in every learning category.
It would also eliminate suspicions of corruption and heal the sibling rivalry among publishers. Under the current model, publishers undercut each other by quoting prices that do not make economic sense and then resort to renegotiating royalty percentages with authors. 

Dr Wanjiku wa Njoroge is an information professional, curriculum interpreter and content developer for print and digital media.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.