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School textbooks with errors: World Bank comments on situation

The World Bank has financed an Education Reform Support Project for $16.5 million. The organization commented to 24.kg news agency on the reasons for mistakes made in school textbooks.

According to the WB, within the framework of the project, the Ministry of Education of Kyrgyzstan has achieved significant results in improving the system of secondary education. About 11,789 teachers, directors of studies and specialists of district and municipal education departments, 2,176 principals and accountants were trained; new standards have been developed in 17 subjects for 5-9 grades along with additional electronic teaching materials for primary and secondary schools; electronic libraries were opened at 60 schools with provision of equipment and furniture.

In addition, an English language textbook for 3–4 grades has been developed, 105 new kinds of textbooks have been released, as well as 102 types of guidebooks for teachers in Kyrgyz, Russian, Uzbek, and Tajik for 5—6grades. The total circulation amounted to 4,133,773 copies for $ 4,321,212.

Errors were found in two out of 105 titles of new textbooks — Natural Science for 5th grades, and Geography for the 6th grades.

«Errors were made due to omissions in the acting at that moment regulation of the Ministry of Education and Science, which lacked clear determining of criteria for evaluation of textbooks’ manuscripts, responsibility of structures for testing, as well as for checking the final version before printing after testing and revision. At present, the provision on publication of textbooks is reviewed taking into account lessons learned and clearly delineates the responsibility of participants to enhance the accountability of the process,» the WB explained.

The World Bank is not authorized to sanction the content of textbooks. The system of ensuring the content and quality of textbooks is the prerogative of state bodies and is carried out by them on the basis of state procedures and rules.