Government sees huge benefits in terms of cost effectiveness, quality assurance and efficiency by implementing the in-house textbook production policy for pre-primary, primary and secondary schools.
This was said by the Minister for Education, Dr Eugene Mutimura, while visiting a team of over a hundred content producers for the new textbooks to be published by the Government, after it stopped using private publishers last year.
The team is currently in a retreat in Musanze District.
They include staff from Rwanda Education Board; teachers; individual writers; quality assurers from higher learning institutions, graphic designers, and illustrators.
Addressing journalists after meeting the developers, Mutimura explained that Government faces various problems associated with buying books published from outside the country.
Among these, he said, are mistakes that were being discovered in the books after they were supplied, which took a long time to correct and this comes with a heavy cost.
“The country has been spending over Rwf6 billion on textbooks and related materials every year. But I am assuring you that this cost will go down by at least a third when we start producing the books ourselves.”
The minister said relying on content from foreign authors and publishers than government has also led to unnecessary delays in delivery of the textbooks to schools.
“If textbooks are written by Rwandans it guarantees us copyright which allows us to do the necessary edits any time the need arises, which has not been possible with private publishers,” he said.
Textbooks that are currently being written through the in-house production are mainly about humanities, literature, languages, and religious education, among others.
Minister Mutimura hailed the progress made so far assuring that textbooks that are being written are in full compliance with the new competency-based curriculum.
“Every year, we shall be able to review the content, students’ learning, applicability of what students have learnt in the labour market of the day and see if we have to review some of the programmes,” he said.
Information from Rwanda Education Board indicates that the agency planned to implement in-house textbook production in two cycles; the first cycle started in February 2018 and focused on writing 46 titles that were not supplied by publishers.
The content developed is progressively written and shared with schools for use and improvement.
It was first availed online before the final printouts of the textbooks are expected end 2018.
The second will concentrate on production of all other remaining textbooks from pre-primary, to secondary. During this cycle, 124 titles were to be written from August 2018 to February 2019. This will include all subjects and at all levels and grades.