Errors rock secondary school textbooks again

Report reveals a range of anomalies in 10 textbooks currently in use in secondary schools

In Summary

• Errors noted in books by Kenya Literature Bureau, East African Educational Publishers and Oxford publishers.

• The errors affect topics in Mathematics, Kiswahili, English, Biology, Physics, Religious Education

Aa pupil at Sathya Sai School in Kajiado looks for a book at the Savani’s Textbook Centre
LOW QUALITY: Aa pupil at Sathya Sai School in Kajiado looks for a book at the Savani’s Textbook Centre

Errors have yet again been found in textbooks distributed to secondary schools. 

Twenty two million books worth Sh7.6 billion have been distributed under a new policy that saw the government buy books directly from publishers. The policy was adopted by the government last year in January.  

An evaluation report presented before the Education committee in Parliament by the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association on Thursday showed anomalies in 10 textbooks that have been supplied to schools. 


Efforts by the Star to contact KICD chief executive officer Julius Jwan were not successful. His phone went unanswered and he did not reply to a text messages.

However, Kenya Publisher's Association chairperson Lawrence Njagi dismissed the claims as baseless.

The errors include missing pages, a mix up of subjects in a single book, erroneous illustrations and wrong labeling which the association says is causing confusion among learners.

Books affected are the first batch which was distributed in March.  They are Mathematics, Kiswahili, English, Biology, Physics and Religious Education.

The policy has come under fire with headteachers calling for a revision or complete abandonment.

This is the second time books have been found to have errors. Last year in March, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development recalled a set of books that were reported to have errors.

The policy replaced a 19-year-old policy where headteachers were provided with money to choose textbooks to buy from a published list. 


Kessha chairman Indimuli Kahi on Thursday blamed the errors on mass production under the policy that has resulted to hastened printing. 

The government's decision to distribute the books was touted to have saved taxpayers Sh13 billion. 

The report states that the errors were in books published by the Kenya Literature Bureau, books from the East African Educational Publishers and from Oxford Publishers.

KLB's Form Four Biology and Mathematics books have missing pages and so do the English and Kiswahili Form Three books.

EAEP New Horizon in English Form Four has missing pages too.

The report states that there was a mix up in KLB's Kiswahili Kitukuzwe Form 2 book. Some text is in English. 

Kahi said there is an oversupply of books. He said the books also wear out fast, showing they are of low quality. The books had earlier been reported to have a five-year shelf life.

"This is because it is believed that once the book gets spoiled very fast it is replaced faster... we need to ensure the books have a longer shelf life that can serve learners longer," Kahi said.

Book shortage

While there is an oversupply of some books, there is irony in that the government is yet to distribute books for some subjects. 

A circular in September last year suggested that the government would take up the purchase of Literature and Fasihi setbooks. However, Kahi said this is yet to be actualised.

In the primary school category, headteachers have raised concern over the lack of distribution for books to be used for Standard 4, 5 and 6. No money has been supplied to buy them.

Standard 7 and 8 pupils are yet to receive Social Studies and Religious Education books.  

"The old policy was revoked without consultation. There is no money provided for transportation of the textbooks from the subcounty headquarters. We ask the teachers to be allowed to buy the books they prefer," Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association chairman Nicholas Gathemia said on Thursday. 

Edited by R.Wamochie