Textbook scandal: Inspectors recommend dismissal of Education Ministry directors

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Textbook scandal: Inspectors recommend dismissal of Education Ministry directors
Textbook scandal: Inspectors recommend dismissal of Education Ministry directors

Africa-Press – Mozambique. Mozambique’s General Inspectorate of Public Administration (IGAP) has recommended the dismissal of the directors of institutions involved in the production and distribution of the sixth grade social science textbook, who negligently did not pay attention to the gross mistakes in the text of the book.

The Commission of Inquiry that investigated the scandal handed its report to Education Minister Carmelita Namashalua, who made a summary public at a Maputo press conference on Tuesday.

The four senior officials facing the sack are the director-general of the National Institute for Education Development (INDE), Ismael Nheze, the National Director of Primary Education, Gina Guibunda (who is better known as one of the spokespersons for the Ministry), the head of the School Book and Didactic Materials Management Department, Fabião Nhabique, and the executive secretary of the School Book Evaluation Council (CALE), whose name Namashalua did not announce.

According to the minister, disciplinary measures will be taken against those who did not comply with their duties in the process of editing the textbook, but there will be no criminal prosecution.

“The Ministry of Education and Human Development stresses its commitment and, we will continue to follow-up all the recommendations proposed left by the Commission of Inquiry”, said the minister.

There have been calls that Namashalua herself should be sacked, but the Commission made no such recommendation.

The government set up the commission at the end of May to find out why such blunders had been committed in the editing and production of the Grade 6 Social Science textbook. It seemed that there had been no final proof reading, and as a result basic errors of geography were committed, such as the claim that the pre-colonial state of Great Zimbabwe bordered on the Red Sea.

Namashalua said that textbook should go through five phases of verification and proofreading, but in the case of his book, two phases had been omitted.

In particular, the Portuguese company which printed the book, Porto Editora, ignored the scientific editor, Suzete Buque, who had been hired to review the content of the book, and only contacted the writer, Firosa Bica.

Some corrections to the text were made, said Namashalua, but Porto Editora failed to incorporate them into the final version, thus violating its contractual obligations. It is not yet clear yet whether Porto Editora can be obliged to compensate the Mozambican state for its negligence.

A report on assessing the sixth grade textbooks should have been signed by independent consultants. Instead it was signed by Ismael Nheze, in his capacity as deputy chairperson of CALE. He was regarded as being in a clear conflict of interests, and the commission of inquiry considered him one of the main culprits.

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