The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has come under fire for failing to do a proper review of a prescribed textbook for Chichewa Literature for Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE).
The book has since been withdrawn from the curriculum following complaints from the Catholic Church that the book was partly defaming Catholics.
On Tuesday, the government released a notice addressed to all education division managers and other stakeholders in the education sector notifying them that the book titled Kusintha Maganizo ndi Nkhani Zina has been withdrawn from the list of prescribed examinable texts.
“The book has been withdrawn because it contains a story titled ‘Mdalitso Wabodza’ which is immoral in nature and portrays a damaging image of the Catholic Church. The Ministry of Education views the story as being insensitive to the Catholic Church,” reads part of the communication.
However, Civil Society Education Coalition Executive Director, Benedicto Kondowe, said even though the decision to withdraw the book is appropriate, the move shows that government did not conduct a good vetting process.
“When books have been written, there is that consultative process where the scripts are shared with stakeholders to ascertain if there are issues which need to be dealt with. I am of the view that government did not play its role well because it could have changed the words before the actual printing was done,” he said.
Kondowe said the withdrawal will have an implication on the curriculum since it means Chichewa Literature would have fewer books than the ones approved.
Independent Schools Association of Malawi has also shared the same concern, arguing there should be an inquiry into the matter.
The association’s President, Joseph Patel, said the withdrawal of the book shows weakness of government’s vetting process.
“The government was supposed to check. This means that in the selection [of prescribed books] process, somebody failed to do his or her job,” he said.