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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Awarding new curriculum textbook tender to foreign companies upsets Zambian local publishers

Economy Awarding new curriculum textbook tender to foreign companies upsets Zambian...

ZAMBIAN publishers stand to lose more than US$4 million to foreign companies should the Ministry of Education proceed to award a textbook tender to foreign companies.

This follows the failure of a last-ditch court challenge, which was dismissed by the Lusaka High Court last Friday.

The publishers had taken the matter to court to compel Government to award the contract to Zambians who had shown capacity to undertake the task.

Publishers Association of Zambia vice chairperson Alice Mkandawire told the Daily Nation that it was unfair that out of the six Zambian publishing companies that tendered, none were picked, saying the situation had worked to the disadvantage of local teachers who were writers and editors of the curriculum.

The Zambian publishers had spent millions of Kwacha developing the books in addition to the money they paid to lodge the tenders.

“What criteria did the ministry to eliminate all Zambians and choose foreign companies one of which had failed to deliver previously and the other which was registered only a few weeks ago,” she said.

“We have lost the case in the court, but we have already lodged our complaint to the Supreme Court, because we are concerned with the education system in the country, which could be affected by these delays,” Ms Mkandawire said.

High court Judge Judy Mulongoti on Friday discharged an application restraining the Government from awarding the contract which had been suspended pending finalization of the court challenge.

However publishers have complained that should Government award the tender to four foreign publishing companies to print the new curriculum, it would work to the disadvantages of local printers who had already spent millions of kwacha on developing the books.

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    • Why cant the government empower local publishers and in the process create jobs for local people?

      We are enemies of our own. We believe in foreign products and services so much.

    • Good work high court. To hell with Zambian sub-standard publishers. I want my tax money to go towards quality, reliable corruption free publishers.

    • Our situation in Zambia is complex and will require bold and astute politicians to get it right. On one hand we want to promote local businesses to take control of our economy while on the other hand we have what Lucky Mulusa highlighting what happens when you engage Zambian Companies. The eat the money and thereafter abandon projects. In other words corruption!

  1. Let the government support local firms as money will remain in the Country compared to the foreign companies.

  2. What criteria is being used to give out the tender? Have all local companies failed to comply? Be transparent and make sure that you give the locals top priority. If they fail to meet the requirements, then they have noboby to blame.

  3. Just like the trend has been even those who selected the foreign company does not trust and believe in them selves. Even Jesus Christ will comes punish you at that ministry,wait until all of you retire and join us that’s when you feel how this side of local companies is by that time you will not even be welcome. they think they have stolen enough to even lose hope in there friends. that time is coming,age will catch-up with you.

  4. Boza! the local publishers books are below standard. They do not meet the challenge of education quality. The publishing aspect is pathetic. So called foreign companies are registered in Zambia, employ Zambians, the writers are Zambian teachers – A lot of Zambian teachers have improved their writing skills as a result of their association with the ‘foreign’ companies. The problem with the many so called Zambian companies is that they used tribe, corruption and bribery to win tenders in the past. Senior education officers, including Permanent Secretaries where behind these so called Zambian companies. The issue is not about local or foreign BUT which books meet the set criteria? Both the local and foreign write books from the GRZ set syllabuses.

    • Pf govt introduced the local language but run to foreign companies to publish the books.thats total bullisht

    • Let me educate you. We are not like building contractors, the track record is there to show that what we publish is quality. The publishers from East Africa who have won the tender cant compare to our work. Why do i say so? After the tenders are given, like in the past, publishers would go to individual schools even in the most rural parts and give out sample books and order forms to order the books they want. that is where the competition is. The teachers (the end users) pick the books they prefer from various publishers and fill in the order forms which are submitted to their DEBS offices which are later given to the publishers. The publishers then supply the books by delivering on each school’s door step regardless of the terrain.

  5. Most Zambian contractors are infamous for shoddy works and although I don’t advocate for foreign contractors, they say ‘quality is lekker’.

  6. Only in Zambia can you give taxpayers money away….from ballot paper printing to simple books. Give locals a specification brief …

    • Reminds me in Kitwe, they gave a tender to put up road signs to a Chinese company and they inserted roads like 1th Avenue (instead of 1st Avenue) or 3th street instead of 3td Street! The irony of it all is the new sign posted roads were commissioned with the mistakes and it took two weeks for a local resident to point the errors to the Council! But most of all, I liked the fact that it took a month to correct these inept worksmanship!

  7. So you guys are in favour of externalising $4m just because foreign companies can give you “quality” books? The government could still demand that local firms produce quality or that they can partner with foreign firms. No one will develop Zambia if you keep this mentality of “foreign is better”. Local is “laka”; we shall get there one day.

    • Yeah when i say EL is good in rhetoric pf cadres cry foul.usa gets loans from other countries but the projects are given to the locals who in turn employ local pipo ;from who the fed and state tax those employees and then provide good services to its cituzens.EL should be more pragmatic.

  8. Most Zambians have abandoned projects contracted to them . This was after receiving mobilization money.

    • Not true,why is the govt not suing those companies for breach of contract.dont believe all what pf politicians are saying.the govt is broke and those projects are in phases of funds being released at each stage level.

  9. Unfortunately and very sadly, most lazy Zambians, those that boast of having received ‘UNZA’ education cannot perform. Why award a Zambian company when you know very well they will publish, to borrow one blogger’s word, ‘sub-standard’ text books. I am better of externalizing my hard earned tax for quality than poor craftsmanship. We cannot take chances with our children’s education. Simple.

  10. Sorry but if printed by these locals the quality of these books would have been rubbish at best. The would have not met the publication deadlines and volumes. Worst still they would have taken the money and delivered air! That’s what the Zambian mindset is all about.

    If you want any printing done for you in Zambia don’t go through the front door. Use the freelance printers who get things printed for you through the backdoor and at a fraction of the cost. Who doesn’t know that. Or better still get it done in China!

  11. For the last fifteen years, textbooks were being procured at the school level by the teachers and todate that is the Ministry of Education policy. Who has changed that? PF? Someone decided that books will be bought at Ministry of Education HQ. Why. Let those Zambian publishers compete with foreign publishers at the school level … Bola panshi …..

    • And that’s where the problem has been! For the past 25 years our educational standards have hit the sewers. How do you police what text books the Headmaster has bought? It’s time we became responsible and empowered our children with quality education!

  12. Foreign Publishers are better than Zambian publishers. Where is Kenneth Kaunda Publishin House? Govt has failed to fund it since its inception. Turn it into private publisher then maybe it can rise to high level.

    • My friend we have quality private run publishers in Zambia. Ever heard of them? Even ZEPH can’t be compared.

  13. These Zambian publishers should first talk to the 46 Zambian contractors that abandoned tax payer funded projects in Muchinga. Well done high court, let these Zambians prove themselves first.

    Viva President Nawakwi.

  14. Would it not be prudent to engage Zambians in the diaspora i.e those in RSA, Australia, Botswana, USA, UK, Namibia etc., most of who credit themselves with publications to be involved in the publication of educational materials in collaboration with the locals at a cheaper cost. This can also involve recruiting the demonstrating graduates to create an opportunity for them. There is a potential policy for the ministers of Foreign and Education. Or is Foreign Minister still thinking of some magical diaspora policy?

  15. For each and every dollar given usd 5 goes out….thats western aid for you.They give you money to buy from there own.Remember the Bulaya saga?
    Its sad that most of us Zambians can not see beyond our nose.’Educated’ but still dont just understand how todays world works.Its very cruel……

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