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School heads ordering purchase of unauthorized textbooks face up to 3 years in jail

President Kenyatta flags off the distribution of KICD-accredited textbooks flanked by the agency’s  Director Julius Jwan/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – The Ministry of Education has ordered schools to strictly select textbooks from a list of authorized texts popularly known as the Orange Book.

Through a letter to all Regional and County Directors of education, the Ministry on Thursday warned Principals or Head Teachers who fail to adhere to the policy will be contravening Section 27 of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Act, 2013.

“It has been noted with concern that some schools are procuring unapproved books that contain unsuitable contents. 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,” reads the letter dispatched by Elyas Abdi Jillaow, the Director General (Technical) in the State Department of Early Learning and Basic Education.

KICD is the institution mandated to vet all instructional materials intended for use in all the basic institutions implementing the national curriculum.

Section 27 (2) (c) of KICD Act (2013) stipulates a person or institution that develops curriculum materials contrary to the law, “contravenes any of the provisions of this Act, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction for imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding one million shillings, or to both.”

After being vetted and approved by KICD, the Ministry publishes curriculum materials in two volumes – the approved list of textbooks and instructional materials.

KICD reviews curriculum for Pre-primary, Primary schools and Teacher Training Colleges.

According to the Ministry, the latest edition of the Orange Book is the 16th edition published in January 2017.

An addendum for Competence Based Curriculum for the Pre-primary one, Pre-primary two and Grade I to III was published in 2019 and is available in the KICD website, the education ministry said.

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Complaints regarding books used by learners are however not new, just last year textbooks which had errors were circulated in various platforms.

Some books also had an issue with the content whereas in other cases a photograph was not matching with the caption given.

Following this, teachers and experts complained that mistakes in the books could compromise education quality.

The KICD has on various occasions insisted that teachers should confirm if the books they are using are approved by institution.

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