Traders engaged in the sale of textbooks want the Ghana Education Service (GES) to supply the books required for the new curriculum to help their businesses.
The introduction of the new curriculum at the basic level from kindergarten to primary six means that traders who have the old textbooks in stock are running at a loss as most of the textbooks on these shelves can no longer be used in schools.
Some bookshop owners in Accra told Citi Business News they were still looking forward to the new textbooks to boost their sales ahead of the reopening of schools.
“Once a while, someone will come in for stationery but no one comes for textbooks. It’s been like that for the past two years. Even last year, they changed the curriculum. We didn’t sell any textbook. The new ones are not yet in. It’s just a few and even those are very difficult to get. So what do we do? And the government insisted that they should not buy the old ones. They should have given us a grace period to finish selling old ones. This has affected us a lot,” Teiko Foli cried.
William Odidjah added, “The books are not available. They say they have to certify it before they bring it back to us and up till now, we haven’t seen them. People only buy these old ones when they don’t get the new ones and that happens once in a blue moon. That’s the problem we have.”
The situation is no different in the Ashanti Region.
The Chairman of the Kumasi Books Sellers Association, Gilbert Wiredu, told Citi Business News that they “were taken unawares by the change of syllabus. Most of us have had to throw away a lot of books. It has cost me more than GHS200,000. A number of my colleagues in Accra have also thrown away the books because they are outmoded due to the change of curriculum.”
Diana Asantewaa, another stationery shop owner lamented, “Even before the COVID-19 came, there was a change in curriculum and that brought a lot of challenges to our business. Most of our books are no longer useful because of the change, and we have incurred a lot of cost due to that. It has not been easy for us because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 and the change of the curriculum. We have tried to get the Government to intervene, but that did not work.”
As part of ongoing reforms in the education sector, the GES announced a new curriculum for kindergarten to primary six pupils in April 2019.
However, after the roll-out of the syllabus in September, the Education Ministry failed to approve the accompanying textbooks for schools.
According to the Ministry, it needed time to modify some subjects and to advance students’ learning needs to ensure relevance.
This, in turn, has taken a huge toll on the sale of these learning materials, as most people are no more purchasing the books based on the old curriculum.