Wrong writers

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- SRIJANA RAI

Apr 20, 2017-What happens when a bus driver tries to fly an aeroplane? What happens when a mason operates on a patient? The answer is simple: There will be fatal fiascos. Yes, there have been serious concerns about our students being made to study books written by the wrong person in the wrong job. Lately, a highly experienced science teacher told me that he had received a draft of a series of science textbooks penned by a principal of a well-reputed institution in the Kathmandu Valley. The principal neither has teaching experience in the subject nor holds a relevant degree. Such practices might pose a great threat to our academic standards. 

Some school principals are powerful, and they tend to unduly exercise their authority. They might get a big sum of money in the name of commission from publishers. It is no longer a surprise that schools prescribe textbooks on the basis of the amount of commission rather than the quality of the product. Another reason is the weakness of the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC). It does not check the academic credentials of the writer. Textbooks should be based on research and the latest updates. Some writers are still not aware of copyright laws. They simply use information found on the internet and existing textbooks. The CDC should check the quality of the textbooks, the identity of the writer and possible plagiarism. It is good to hear that the number of textbook writers in Nepal is burgeoning. On the other hand, the quality of such books is declining by the day. Educational materials that mislead students should be removed. 

Our publishers are also equally responsible for this. Their main fear is that they hesitate to publish books written by struggling writers. But if the principal of a big school writes a low quality book, it is likely to be published because he or she can make all the students of that school buy books from the publisher. People have really challenged the saying that quality speaks for itself. Nowadays, publicity is primary and quality is secondary. People are after publicity. 

This tendency will make study materials more boring and unorganised. This will discourage our students from studying them. As a result, the failure rate soars, and teachers have to face criticism. Flexibility is the key to such ill practices in our country. Politics in education, corruption in the bureaucracy and the country becoming a 

transit point for smuggling and place for experimentation are the effects of flexibility in our rules and regulations. Individuals not abiding by the laws of the land should be penalised instantly and strongly. On top of that, such writers must be ashamed of the things they have done. 

Published: 20-04-2017 08:36

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