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Books Development Council Bill to be laid in Parliament

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
 Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has said a Bill to empower the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NaCCA) to enable it to sanction publishers of unauthorised textbooks will soon be laid again before Parliament.

Known as the Ghana Books Development Council Bill, it was first laid before the last Parliament, however, the bill could not be passed before Parliament was dissolved early this year..

Addressing Parliament last Thursday, Dr Adutwum said the NaCCA Act did not give the council the authority to sanction.

“The legal framework within which NaCCA operates does not give them room to do that. But the Book Development Council Bill is going to cure this inefficiency and give us the opportunity to enforce sanctions accordingly,” he added.

The minister was responding to a question by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

The MP asked the minister whether “History of Ghana Textbook 3” by Badu Nkansah Publications, authored by Badu Nkansah and Nelly Martison Anim, as well as “Golden English Basic 4” authored by Okyere Baafi Alexander, both of which contained bigoted content and related to the Ewe ethnic group had come to the MoE’s attention, and if so, whether the ministry granted approval for those publications and what possible steps were being taken to purge schools and bookshops of offensive, divisive and incendiary publications of that nature.

Assurance

Responding, Dr Adutwum gave an assurance that the government and the MoE were committed to purging schools and bookshops of all unapproved books.

That, he said, would ensure children received quality and relevant education that would promote mutual respect for all ethnic groups and also ensure peaceful co-existence among the various ethnic groups for national development.

Dr Adutwum said on March 5, 2021, NaCCA issued a press statement cautioning heads of institutions, publishers and the general public against the use of unapproved textbooks.

Besides, the minister said the council wrote to publishers asking them to withdraw both textbooks and any other unapproved books they might have on the market immediately.

The council also informed stakeholders about future random visits to schools to check and withdraw unapproved textbooks.

Procurement

The minister further informed the House that the MoE had not procured the two derogatory textbooks for distribution in schools.

He, therefore, said NaCCA would embark on random checks in private schools and order the withdrawal of any offending publications they might be using.

Dr Adutwum also denied claims that the development of the new standard curriculum by the MoE contributed to the publishing of the two bigoted textbooks.

“It is true that school textbooks have not been procured yet, that is why private schools are resorting to textbooks that are not accurate in content and facts,” he said.