The Ghana Publishers Association (GPA) has emphasized the urgent need for the government to establish a sustainable book procurement policy aimed at addressing the persistent challenges faced by the publishing industry in the country.
During the 47th Annual General Meeting held under the theme “Book Procurement in Ghana: Resolving Challenges for Industrial Growth” in Accra, Mr. Asare Konadu Yamoah, President of GPA, stressed the importance of a comprehensive policy framework for book procurement. He outlined crucial components such a policy should incorporate, including credible guidelines for procurement, a structured timetable for purchasing pre-tertiary textbooks and supplementary readers, scheduled curriculum review and development timelines, a clear payment plan, and a firm government commitment to adhere to the stipulated payment schedule.
Mr. Yamoah highlighted the significance of book procurement in sustaining the operational continuity of publishers and stressed the pivotal role of the government’s intervention in addressing the prevalent challenges within the industry.
He recounted the successful collaboration between the publishing industry and the government in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which led to a fully private sector-led textbook publishing process and the formulation of a national Textbook Development and Distribution Policy. However, he lamented that subsequent events had presented challenges in the procurement process, citing issues such as perceived manipulations, discretionary powers overriding documented policies, untimely curriculum changes, absence of procurement plans and policies, delayed payments, unreasonable demands for discounts from school authorities, and inadequate government commitment and investment in book procurement.
Mr. Yamoah pinpointed a significant setback in the decision of the Ministry of Education to discontinue reliance on the 2002 Textbook Development and Distribution Policy without providing any explanation.
He emphasized the pressing need to address the accessibility deficit of textbooks and supplementary readers for pre-tertiary students, highlighting the industry’s readiness for engagement aimed at advancing its development.
At the meeting, Mr. Justice King Essel Amevor, General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools, emphasized the importance of reviewing the entire value chain of the publishing process and proposed a more holistic approach encompassing aspects from initial printing to content and production locations.
Mr. Carl Ampah, National Professional Officer for Culture at UNESCO, lauded the significance of the book industry as a crucial sector within the creative industry, creating employment opportunities for millions worldwide. He urged publishers to continue contributing to fostering literacy, education, and cultural sensitivity among the population.