As parents struggle to take learners back to school as the first term of the 2019 academic year takes shape, news that the government will shoulder the cost of set books for form three and four students has brought a ray of sunshine to parents who are already feeling the heat of “back to school activities” amid a high cost of living.
The Ministry of Education, through a circular, said it will cater for the literature books for the 1.4 million students in Form 3 and 4. The purchase and distribution of the set books is expected to begin this month under the textbook distribution policy.
The policy introduced last year mandates the Ministry of Education through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development with the task of purchasing and distributing the textbooks.
According to the ministry’s guidelines students are required to have three set books for Fasihi ya Kiswahili and three for English literature. The books are often revised every five years.
Currently, the set books in use are; ‘Blossoms of the Savannah’ and ‘A Doll’s House’ (Both Compulsory), ‘The Pearl’, ‘Memories we Lost’ and Other Stories ‘, and ‘Inheritance’ (All optional) while Fasihi ya Kiswahili has ‘Chozi la Heri’, ‘Kigogo’ (Storymoja), and ‘Tumbo Lisiloshiba na Hadithi Nyingine’.
The above set books were rolled out in 2017 and will be in use until 2022.
‘Blossoms of the Savannah’ had replaced ‘The River and the source’ while ‘A Doll’s House’ by Henrik Ibsen took the place of ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’s place’.
On the Fasihi books, ‘Kidagaa Kimemwozea’ was replaced by Chozi La Heri by Assumpta K. Matei
The Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairperson Indimuli Kahi said the move will go a long way especially in helping students from poor families who struggle to acquire the books.
The ministry also installed some security measures to curb book piracy. When the books were unveiled in 2017, they had a running footnote on every page stating, ‘Approved by KICD 2017 Edition’ and ‘Kimeidhinishwa na KICD Toleo la 2017’ for English and Kiswahili respectively as it seeks to end piracy.
The new set books also had a security tag on the cover which when scratched revealed a sixteen-digit pin. When the pin number is sent by mobile SMS to 22776 a user receives a message confirming whether the copy is genuine or pirated.