Education Ministry denies textbook crisis

21 Nov 2013 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 21 NOV (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Education (MoE) this week denied claims that there is a textbook crisis as reported in a local daily early this month.
The report in a local daily stated that the tender for the printing of next year’s new textbooks has not been awarded, raising fears that over 600 000 of the country’s learners will have to share old books when the academic year starts in January.
It said according to several companies which submitted bids in August, the textbook tender should have been awarded by September, which would have seen them meeting the printing deadline ahead of the festive season.
In a media statement issued by the MoE here this week, the ministry assured the public that the impact of the distribution of textbooks (for this tender) to schools is minimal should the textbooks only be received in the first quarter of 2014.
It explained that the first tender run, advertised in April, was cancelled by the Tender Board and was re-advertised in August and closed in September 2013.
The ministry is done adjudicating the submissions from the second run, it said, noting that high interest has been shown in the tender, hence the ministry needed more time to fairly adjudicate and identify the eligible companies.
“Evidently, textbooks procured through the regional budgets in the tender in question are simply meant to top up the existing stock in schools and should not be taken as if there are no textbooks at all,” it said.
It said in addition, about 900 000 copies of textbooks covering key subjects such as science, mathematics and English have already been procured by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Namibia.
Through MCA-Namibia, publishers have started delivering textbooks to schools, and the contract runs up to January 2014.
According to the media statement, the MoE is currently reviewing the curriculum for 2015 and the new curriculum will require new textbook titles, which will be procured in 2014 for 2015 upon the implementation of the new curriculum.
“The textbook budget allocation for the fiscal year 2013/ 2014 is N.dollars 74 184 645,69.
Of the total, N.dollars 36 058 954,05 is for the primary phase, and N.dollars 38 125 691,60 is for the secondary phase and these can still be procured before the end of the financial year,” it said.