Minister of Education insists on developing public school textbooks

Hoy newspaper carries a letter in which Education Minister Angel Hernandez defends the Ministry of Education’s decision to publish textbooks for the public school students. The Ministry, over the years has been affected by major book scams, many of which were inherited from the previous incumbent. Now the Ministry wants to leave only the printing to the private sector.

Education Minister Angel Hernandez defends that by controlling the editorial process, the Ministry will ensure quality. Billions in savings are also intended.

In a letter to the executive director of Hoy newspaper, Bienvenido Álvarez Vega, Hernandez makes the point that of 21 countries in Ibero America, only four buy textbooks in the open market. They are Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Argentina. Hernandez writes that in the others, the Ministry of Education elaborates and edits them, leaving only the printing to the market. The printing is the major cost.

He points out that the Education Law in its article 94 establishes as a central function of the Ministry of Education “the preparation, selection and dissemination of educational media, textbooks, new methodologies, didactic and audiovisual instruments, information banks, computers, the newspaper, educational radio and television, as well as any other type of aid to the educational activity.”

He emphasized that the Ministry has evaluated and approved works of independent authors and 354 textbooks, which remain in force for a term of four years from the moment of approval by the curriculum.

“Publishers have always sold their books in private schools and it is obvious that they can continue to do so, nothing prevents them,” wrote Hernandez saying that the Ministry of Education-edited books are only intended for public schools.

He affirmed that what cannot be waived is the right of the Ministry of Education to establish public policies that are favorable to the development of the national education system, such as the policy of publishing textbooks to be used in the educational system.

He indicated that the MINERD has always made use of public and private universities and independent intellectuals to prepare development plans. He said academics, first-rate scholars and prestigious intellectuals are included in the preparation of the textbooks for the next school year. “This process will result in books of the highest quality in printed and digital format, truly digital,” said the minister.

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16 March 2023