MPs advocate for quality school textbooks

Lawmakers have asked the Ministry of Education (Mineduc) to source reputable book publishers to ensure that materials supplied to schools are free of errors.

Lawmakers have asked the Ministry of Education (Mineduc) to source reputable book publishers to ensure that materials supplied to schools are free of errors.

Lawmakers on Parliament’s Committee on Education, Technology, Culture and Youth, made the remarks on Friday as the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, appeared before the committee to respond to queries about complaints from some teachers over textbooks.

Their remarks were in response to complaints from teachers about some textbooks with errors.

The MPs reportedly received the complaints during their recent tour of various science schools and those regarded as centers of excellence in different parts of the country.

The MPs cited one teacher (name withheld) of Biology in Rwanza, Eastern Province, who reportedly decided to put together his own version of a biology textbook and sold it to students.

The teacher claimed that “the available textbooks had numerous errors that would give wrong information to students.”

MP Christine Muhongayire said apart from errors in textbooks, other teachers complained of lack of required textbooks, which has affected their performance.

Minister Harebamungu acknowledged that the ministry has received similar complaints, but expressed confidence in the publishers. 

The ministry, he added, has contracted to supply schools with textbooks.

“Some of the publishers we have contracted, like Pearson and Fountain are reputable for their good publications. Errors may occur, when local partners entrusted with curriculum revision and textbooks proofreading neglect their duties,” Harebamungu said.

The minister, however, condemned teachers who are taking advantage of errors to compile their own versions of textbooks, saying “this will confuse students and it might not live up to the required standard of national curricula.”

Changes being made

Meanwhile, Agnès Mukazibera, the chairperson of the committee said: “Parents, teachers and students have continued to express concerns over continuous changes in the national education system, syllabus and curricula.”

But Harebamungu argued that all the changes being made are aimed at improving the quality of the education sector.

He explained that national curricula are subject to revision, after every five years, according to international education standards and in accordance with the development goals of the country.

The Harebamungu reiterated that while making curricula amendments, they will involve a number of teachers for a more comprehensive output.

During the same meeting, Harebamungu disclosed that the ministry is considering making Mathematics added to all science combinations at Advanced Level.

Currently, students with Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB), combination for example, are not required to add Mathematics to their subject combination.

MP Philbert Uwiringiyimana said science students who don’t study math at A-Level find challenges with the subject when they are pursuing science courses at the university. 

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