Africa Education Watch has called on the National Security Secretariat to probe how some primary school textbooks containing stereotypical content about Ewes, found their way onto the market in commercial quantities when they had not been approved.
“We call for further investigations by National Security to ascertain how samples of books submitted to NaCCA by the publishers and queried by same in September 2020, found their way in commercial quantities unto the Ghanaian book market in 2021”, the group said in a statement.
The National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NaCCA) said the three textbooks: “History of Ghana for Basic 6 by Golden Publications, which carries distasteful information about Dr Kwame Nkrumah and the CPP; History of Ghana Textbook 3 by Badu Nkansah Publications, which features a song that shows the Ewes identity; Golden English Basic 4 by Golden Publications, which displays ‘Efo agrees to prepare the juju for the players’ on page 17,” are all unapproved, NaCCA said.
The Council disclosed this in a statement issued and signed by its Acting Director-General John Mensah Anang on Monday, 15 March 2021.
The Council continued that in each of the books mentioned, the “authors make inappropriate references to personalities and ethnic groups, which are deemed unfortunate, distasteful and are in contradiction with NaCCA’s Book Submission Guidelines and Approval Methodology, which guide the work of publishers and authors.”
It indicated that it has met with the management and leadership of Golden Publication and asked them to withdraw the “unapproved offending books” from the market and submit them for assessment and approval.
NaCCA added: “We are firmly on the ground with respect to the fight the use of unapproved books in schools and all culprits will be duly dealt with according to the law.”
Earlier, NaCCA asked New Golden Publications to withdraw the books from the market with “immediate effect,” as well as other “unapproved books” that it may have on the market but have not been mentioned in the letter.
The Council further asked the publisher to “issue an unequivocal apology through the electronic, print, and social media.”
It added: “Failure to comply with this directive will attract sanctions.”
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said he has filed an urgent parliamentary request for the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Adutwum, to appear before the house to respond to questions with regard to a newly-published history textbooks for pupils in Primary 3 and 4, which, in the opposition MP’s view, contains stereotypical content about Ewes.
According to the North Tongu MP, who is also an Ewe and served as Deputy Education Minister in the erstwhile Mahama-led government, the Education Minister will appear before the House to respond to what he referred to as the “two bigoted publications in issue.”
In a post on Facebook on Sunday, 14 March 2021, Mr Ablakwa said: “The text of my urgent question is as follows: To ask the Honourable Minister responsible for Education whether the publications titled: History of Ghana, Text Book 3 by Badu Nkansah Publications authored by Badu Nkansah and Nelly Martinson Anim and Golden English Basic 4, authored by Okyere Baafi Alexander, both of which contain bigoted content targeted at the Ewe ethnic group, have come to his Ministry’s attention; were they approved by any of his Ministry's agencies and what steps government is taking to purge our schools and book shops from offensive, divisive and incendiary publications of this nature?”
Africa Education Watch believes “professionalism and ethical conduct are prerequisites for the development of every field of business or venture; hence, the urgent need to expedite action on the Ghana Book Development Bill, which has been in Parliament for some time now”.
“The said Bill when passed into Law should provide a legal and institutional framework to guide the Ministry of Education and Ghana Book Development Council to develop and implement a comprehensive National Book Development Policy with ethical and professional standards in book development”, it noted.
Read the full statement below:
GOVERNMENT MUST EXPEDITE ACTION ON THE GHANA BOOK DEVELOPMENT BILL TO SANITISE THE BOOK SECTOR
1. Our attention has been drawn to some inappropriate content in some textbooks and the disclaimer from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) indicating the said books are unapproved.
2. We note apologies from some publishers involved in the circulation of the said unapproved textbooks on the market and their assurance of a market recall. We find the apologies timely but puzzling, necessitating further inquest. Specifically, if NaCCA disapproved sample copies of the said textbooks by raising issues with some content as far back as September 2020, how did commercial quantities find their way to the book market in 2021?
3. While we acknowledge that NaCCA is working hard to ensure only NaCCA-approved textbooks are used in schools, the challenge of regulating published content that finds its way into the open market is beyond NaCCA.
4. Professionalism and ethical conduct are prerequisites for the development of every field of business or venture; hence, the urgent need to expedite action on the Ghana Book Development Bill which has been in Parliament for some time now. The said Bill when passed into Law should provide a legal and institutional framework to guide the Ministry of Education and Ghana Book Development Council to develop and implement a comprehensive National Book Development Policy with ethical and professional standards in book development.
5. We call for further investigations by National Security to ascertain how samples of books submitted to NaCCA by the publishers and queried by same in September 2020, found their way in commercial quantities unto the Ghanaian book market in 2021.
6. Relevant sanctions must apply.
Attn: The Hon. Minister of Education