Reports that unapproved books on the competency-based curriculum being rolled out are being sold to unsuspecting buyers is worrying.
Consequences of piracy include innocent people being fleeced and frustrating realisation of the objectives of the syllabus.
The move, therefore, by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to release a comprehensive list of the approved course books and related instructional materials is timely and laudable.
The “Addendum to Orange Book 2019” contains the course books and materials relevant to the new curriculum in the various areas offered in Early Years education — pre-primary and lower primary school.
In the foreword, schools are advised to not only select books from this list but also examine all the recommended materials before settling on their choices. They are also urged to adhere to the Ministry of Education’s policy of selecting only a single course book in every subject per class.
The addendum to the Orange Book was done in partnership with the Kenya Publishers Association, Kenya Booksellers Association, Ministry of Education and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development. Such collaboration enhances the sustainability of the venture of producing quality relevant books and other resources.
Of grave concern, however, is the fact that some booksellers, parents, students, street vendors, schools, libraries and printing presses are duped into buying pirated education resources.
KCSE set books and textbooks are said to be the most affected.
The revelation is a wake-up call to the grim reality of piracy. This requires that swift and harsh action on culprits.
But there are penalties for pirating such materials. They include prosecution leading to long jail terms, heavy fines or both; permanent disablement and closure of the bookshops and printing presses involved; and blacklisting bookshops and banning them from purchasing books from all the publishers and wholesale book distributors.
Other measures include delisting booksellers and suppliers from the Orange Book and stopping them from supplying orders to schools sponsored by both the government and donors. The Ministry of Education has the discretion to punish culpable schools, including their heads.
Commendably, the Kenya Publishers Association has brought to the attention of the public that some competency-based curriculum books have security features.
Therefore, the need for prospective buyers to verify the source of their orders and supplies of the approved list of books and other resources for the new curriculum cannot be gainsaid. It is incumbent upon everyone to purchase only the approved and original copies with the correct content for the smooth implementation of the competency based curriculum.
Dr Benard Nyatuka, chairman, Department of Educational Foundations, Kisii University, Kisii.