More than three million textbooks to be distributed under the government programme are yet to reach public schools despite the lapse of the deadline last month.
Publishers were to distribute 33.8 million textbooks. The government was to buy textbooks for students directly to address the gap in the student-textbook ratio.
The programme was to run for six months between January and June.
Kenya Publishers Association chairman Lawrence Njagi attributed the delay to the long rains that rendered the roads impassable and lack of locally available printing paper.
“Publishers get printing paper from Malaysia and India. The paper sometimes delays reaching the country,” he said.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development awarded tenders to five companies to publish the books for the first phase of the project.
The companies are Kenya Literature Bureau, Moran Publishers, East Africa Publishers, Oxford University Press, and Longhorn Publishers.
Njagi said three publishers - Oxford, Moran and Longhorn - have completed book production .
Kenya Literature Bureau are 90 per cent complete while East African Educational Publishers are 60 per cent done. Njagi said the books are estimated to last three years for lower primary and five for upper primary.
“The book specification on paper and covers are the same, but we took into account the rough and playful nature of children that will affect the durability of the books,” he said.
Njagi said the government could spend more in printing books under the second phase of the project.
However, the second phase, meant to kick off this month, is behind schedule as the government is yet to sign the contract.
The second phase will focus on social sciences including history, geography, agriculture, religious education, business studies and social studies in primary schools.
In the first phase, the government estimated to save the taxpayer Sh13.8 billion as it will now cost Sh7.5 billion, down from the previous Sh21.4 billion.