Bill to regulate book publishing industry to be resubmitted to Parliament

Binding cover and assembling with the spline.

The Ministry of Education is yet to resubmit to Parliament the Ghana Book Development Council bill – a regulatory framework that is expected to oversee the development, regulation and effective planning of the country’s book sector.

The bill was submitted in the last Parliament, and when passed into law, according to the Minister for Education Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, will give authority to the Council to also sanction publishers who publish books without the necessary approvals.

Dr. Adutwum said this when he was invited by Parliament to answer questions from the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on some recent publications of textbooks which contained bigoted and inaccurate contents; and what steps the ministry has taken to rid bookshops and schools of such books.

“The Ghana Book Development Council bill, which is supposed to be worked on, has these provisions for sanctions to be taken against publishers like these. Unfortunately, the NaCCA Act does not make provision for this.

“The Ghana Book Development Council bill is going to cure this inefficiency, and it will be applied accordingly. We want to assure Ghanaians that government and the Ministry of Education are very much committed to purging our schools and bookshops of all unapproved books,” the minister said.

This, he added, will ensure Ghanaians and students get relevant education that will not only promote mutual respect and peaceful coexistence among all ethnic groups, but also ensure national development.

In the past couple of weeks, there has been public outcry of sighted textbooks on the market which contained factual inaccuracies, poor pictorial representation and language deficiencies, that were purported to have been approved by the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NaCCA) for the education curriculum.

Although NaCCA has issued a disclaimer on the said books as unapproved and has asked the publisher to apologise for the misconduct, the North Tongu MP feels that stricter sanctions ought to be taken to sanitise the sector of such publications.

The Africa Education Watch, an education-focused think-tank, in a press release also questioned how commercial quantities of the said textbooks found their way onto the market, and called for Parliament to expedite the processes in passing the bill.

“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 that has been in Parliament for some time now,” stated the statement signed by the Executive Director, Kofi Asare.

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