The East African Educational Publishers (EAEP) has sought an extension of time to distribute the more than three million books to learners under a contract signed with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KIDC).
The KICD contracted five publishers — Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), Oxford University Press (OUP), Moran, Longhorn and EAEP — to distribute textbooks in public schools under government’s ‘one-textbook policy’ whose phase one was meant to conclude on April 20.
The KICD pushed the deadline to July 20 following unexpected prolonged rains and low printing capacity. As at June 30, all contracted publishers aside from EAEP had met their obligation. At the time, the EAEP had distributed slightly more than 70 per cent of books assigned.
“We are aware EAEP have been able to engage more printers and as such, we have allowed them until end of next week (July 20) to meet their obligation,” KICD director Julius Jwan told the parliamentary Committee on Education on Thursday.
The government embarked on the ‘one-textbook policy’ at the start of the year in efforts to improve the quality of education in all public schools.
Only one of the five publishers the KICD hired to produce the books had a printer, meaning the rest relied on third parties for printing works.
Mr Jwan said the EAEP printed some books abroad and is clearing a consignment that arrived in Mombasa a few days ago, adding that they had mulled terminating the deal.
“We felt it was fair to let them finish the process because when we terminate, the contract requires that we go back to the next cheapest publishers and then negotiate with them to accept the same price that EAEP had given us,” he told the committee chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Meli.
At the time the KICD was considering contract termination, the EAEP had distributed 50 per cent of the books and printed 70 per cent of their quota.
To ensure that the publisher meets the July 20 deadline, the KICD has deployed its officers to confirm that the work is in progress. Priority under the one-textbook policy’ project, was given to classes Seven and Eight in primary schools as well as all levels of secondary schools.
Publishers were required to distribute core subject secondary school books — English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics at a cost of Sh7.6 billion as well as English, Kiswahili, Mathematics and Science textbooks to class Seven and Eight pupils.