Implementation of the new secondary school curriculum, which Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) approved and rolled out in the 2015/16 academic year, has been dealt a body blow as there are no books for the initiative.
Through random interviews with some secondary school teachers in Nkhotakota, Chikwawa, Blantyre and Mzimba, The Nation established that there are no new Form Three books for English literature, biology, chemistry, history and physics.
The development has prompted some teachers to use old textbooks, a thing which they have described as “a movement without destination”.
In an interview yesterday, Emmanuel Chaguzika, a secondary school teacher in Nkhotakota District, said teaching is now becoming tough in the absence of the new books.
“It is challenging to use old textbooks for the new curriculum because it is time consuming when searching topics in different books. We are not delivering as expected because we are afraid of cheating learners because we are not sure of what we are teaching,” he said.
Commenting on the matter, Malawi Institute of Education (MIE) executive director William Susuwele-Banda blamed MoEST for the development, saying the current new book policy does not allow the institute to write or publish textbooks.
He said only private publishers were given the mandate to print and publish books for the new curriculum upon approval by the institute.
“Yes, we are aware that there are no new books in our secondary schools. According to current book policy, the institute cannot write and print books and we did not.
“They [private publishers] had submitted their manuscripts to the institute for evaluation last year and we selected books we think are good for the new curriculum. These private publishers are supposed to print and make available on the market for schools to buy. But this is now beyond MIE,” said Susuwele-Banda.
He further said, by the look of things, some publishers are still struggling to print their books and make them available on the market.
Commenting on the issue, Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) interim spokesperson Mayamiko Chiwaya said the objective of Maneb is just to assess what is taught in school.
She said the examination body will examine what has been prescribed in the syllabus that has just been rolled out.
Speaking in a separate interview, MoEST Principal Secretary Ken Ndala said he is aware that schools have no new textbooks for the new curriculum, but refused to comment much on the matter.
In 2016, MoEST overturned its decision to award Tradewings Worldwide Limited to supply textbooks because the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was investigating the company for its alleged link to Cashgate.
However, last month, the ministry, together with MIE hosted a five-day trainer of trainers workshop organised by European Union to equip personnel with appropriate knowledge and skills to train secondary school teachers on how to implement the new curriculum. n