Ghana Book Publishers Oppose NaCCA’s Market Involvement

Ghana Book Publishers Oppose NaCCA's Market Involvement

The Ghana Book Publishers Association (GPA) has called for the removal of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) from its role in book assessment and approval. The GPA believes that Parliament should collaborate with the industry to establish a suitable body for the task, as they cannot trust NaCCA to be an impartial and transparent regulator.

Asare Konadu Yamoah, the GPA president, expressed their concerns at a press conference in Accra. He stated, “NaCCA should focus on its primary role of developing curriculum for the country and monitoring its compliance.”

Yamoah claimed that NaCCA had previously suspended book assessments but proceeded to evaluate a particular publisher’s work. They allegedly instructed schools to order the approved books from NaCCA itself. Yamoah argued that this behavior compromised NaCCA’s position and raised questions about their trustworthiness.

Since 2018, when NaCCA decided to change the country’s curriculum, publishers have reportedly faced humiliating experiences. Yamoah asserted that the transition process caused publishers to lose significant investments. Despite this, the GPA supported the transition and successfully developed manuscripts for the first phase of the curriculum changes.

The GPA finds NaCCA’s involvement in the textbook market troubling and has requested the withdrawal of a circular regarding the matter. Yamoah stated that while publishers awaited NaCCA’s approval to submit their manuscripts, some were being assessed and approved for market release.

Yamoah emphasized that a regulator’s primary responsibility is to provide a transparent, independent, fair, and secure service to those they regulate. He expressed concern over the Ministry of Education’s procurement of textbooks developed under the Common Core curriculum, which are currently stored in the GES warehouses.

The book publishers questioned the ministry’s motivation to commission a publisher for the Common Core program when they have an outstanding debt of approximately GH¢320 million for previously ordered textbooks. Yamoah contended that the ministry’s procurement of textbooks at 100% credit should not deter them from approaching the same publishers for the Common Core textbooks.

The GPA is concerned about the potential imposition of a single standard textbook in the country and believes it could negatively impact students. They questioned the legality and fairness of such a move. Yamoah stated that the association wants to understand why the Ministry of Education and its agencies are directly involved in the textbook market.

The 2002 Textbook Development and Distribution Policy acknowledges that only the private sector under a liberalized system can promote the book industry. Yamoah stated that the current condition could disrupt the publishing ecosystem in the country.

The GPA has urged the Ministry of Education to disclose its intentions and, if it involves creating a monopoly, to reverse the decision immediately. Yamoah stated, “It is uneconomical, unnecessary, and diversionary. None will be a winner.”

The GPA has also announced that it will increase textbook prices by 30-40% in June this year to prevent the industry’s collapse. This decision follows a 27% Value Added Tax on publishers and the economic conditions affecting their operations. Yamoah stated, “Until such conversation is initiated, we have no options but to increase the prices of books.”

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