Home News Develop long-term book procurement policy – GPA urges Gov’t

Develop long-term book procurement policy – GPA urges Gov’t

Develop long-term book procurement policy
book procurement policy

The Ghana Publishers Association (GPA) has urged the government to develop a sustainable book procurement policy to resolve such challenges confronting the publishing industry.

The policy must have credible guidelines for book procurement, timetable for the procurement of pre-tertiary textbooks and supplementary readers, scheduled timelines for the review and development of curriculum, provision of payment plan and a strong commitment of government to comply with the payment plan.

Mr Asare Konadu Yamoah, President, GPA, made the call at the opening of the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Association, on the theme: “Book procurement in Ghana: resolving challenges for industrial growth”, in Accra.

He said book procurement was an important aspect of the publishing process which kept publishers operational and sustainable.

However, the practice was characterised by many challenges needing the intervention of government, he said.

Mr Yamoah said between 1997 to 2002, the publishing industry comprising indigenous publishers, authors, printers, booksellers and other allied service providers, worked with the government to make textbook publishing a fully private sector led process.

“Further to this, a national Textbook Development and Distribution Policy was formulated. In 2004, the Ministry of Education successfully procured school textbooks from indigenous publishers. This was by far the best book procurement process and its transparency encouraged the continuation of the programme.”

He, however, stated that many unfortunate events had given rise to procurement challenges, including perceived manipulations, the use of discretionary powers instead of documented policies, untimely change of curriculum, lack of procurement plan and policies, delayed payment for books by the Ministry, demand of outrageous discounts by heads of schools, low level of government’s commitment and investment in book procurement, among others.

According to him one fundamental failure of the textbook procurement process had been the decision by the Ministry of Education (MoE) not to rely on the 2002 Textbook Development and Distribution Policy, without any reason.

“Much as the Ministry has always endeavoured to procure and make books accessible to schools, the procurement and accessibility of textbooks, and especially supplementary readers to pre-tertiary students, is not up to the desired level.”

He said currently there was textbook and supplementary readers accessibility deficit for pre-tertiary students and unfortunately, those reading deficiencies remained a national challenge because the acquisition and distribution of supplementary readers had not received the requisite attention, and investment by government, parents and organisations.

Mr Yamoah said the industry had made progressive strides amid challenges, saying “no educational institution can run without books and books originate from the investment and professionalism of publishers so we are ready for any engagement that will translate into the development of the industry.”

He appealed to the Ministry of Education to pay the remaining 80 percent of the contract sum of books procured from publishers for public primary schools to reduce liabilities associated with the delay.

Mr Justice King Essel Amevor, General Secretary, Ghana National Association of Private Schools, said the whole value chain must be looked at, “from the first release of the printing house, what we want to print, where we want to print, among others and the ideas should not only be on the demand driven basis as the curriculum informs, but also to look at the things needed for the whole transformation process.”

Mr Carl Ampah, National Professional Officer for Culture, UNESCO, said the book industry was a viable profession among the creative industry providing jobs for nearly 30 million people worldwide and urged publishers to continue to create a literate, educated and culturally sensitive population.

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