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Portuguese publisher Porto Editora said on Wednesday it had not published the book for the 6th grade of Social Sciences, which was the target of an enquiry by the Mozambique General Inspectorate of Public Administration for containing serious mistakes.
The publisher, in a written statement sent to Lusa, said that “the book on the 6th grade Social Sciences, which was the target of an enquiry by the Mozambique General Inspectorate of Public Administration, was not published by Porto Editora”.
The company was reacting to the announcement made on Tuesday by Mozambique’s Education and Human Development Minister, Carmelita Namashulua, that her ministry’s commission of enquiry that investigated the case indicated negligence on the part of Porto Editora was one of the causes of the errors classified as serious.
“The Porto Editora group has been active in the education sector in Mozambique since 2003 and during this period has published numerous textbooks [from grades 1 to 12]. However, in this project we acted as editorial consultants, following the new model for producing textbooks decided by the Mozambican government,” the Portuguese company said.
“It is therefore important to clarify that Porto Editora did not publish the schoolbook, but only worked as an editorial consultant, and the work is the property of the Ministry of Education and Human Development. The printing and distribution is also MINEDH’s responsibility”, it added.
The publisher also explained that, as a consultant, “it hired a Mozambican author and a scientific reviewer, both with recognised curricula”.
The book in question “was subject to validation tests by the MINEDH bodies, and Porto Editora integrated all the requests for changes the ministry requested”.
“After integrating all the changes that were requested, the final version of the book was submitted to the ministry for approval, which approved the manual. Porto Editora ended its intervention there, proceeding to deliver the book files to MINEH, which were duly approved by this organism”, the clarification note adds.
The company also said that “throughout the process, Porto Editora alerted, more than once, in writing, to the very short deadline given by MINEDH for the preparation of the consultancy work and emphasised from the outset the risks inherent in the urgency”.
According to the same statement, after the public disclosure of the cases detected in the book, Porto Editora “was always available to collaborate with MINEDH and guaranteed that it “sent the errata proposal requested” by the Mozambican government in time, which “ended up not being distributed”.
In addition, it says it “cooperated with total availability from the first moment with the inspection, providing all the clarifications and documents requested.
But it said that “it has not yet received, and is awaiting the result of the investigation, remaining totally available to collaborate with the MINEDH”.
In the note, Porto Editora stressed “the rigour, quality and innovation that guide all its actions” and “reinforces its commitment to the educational, cultural and civilizational development of Portuguese speakers”.
“The corrections presented in the consultants’ reports and signed by the director of the National Institute for Education Development, were not fully accepted by Porto Editora, which revealed negligence in fulfilling its obligations,” the Mozambican education minister said on Tuesday.
The minister was speaking at a press conference to present the report of the commission of enquiry set up to investigate the cause of errors, classified as serious, in the free 6th grade textbook in Mozambique.
According to the minister, the textbooks were approved without all five evaluation phases provided for in the contractual clauses having been observed, although the books had been analysed by the National Institute for Development of Education, the School Books and Didactic Material Management Department and the National Directorate of Primary Education, which also shows negligence and a lack of professionalism by these bodies.
The commission of enquiry recommended the restructuring of the School Book Evaluation Council, with the resignations of the director-general of the National Institute for Education Development, Ismael Nheze, and of the National Director of Primary Education, Gina Guibunda.
The ministry of education also announced that a specialised commission would be set up to assess financial issues related to the case, with a particular focus on analysing the contracts signed with entities involved in producing and printing the book.
Among the several errors detected in the book, which was withdrawn from schools after they were detected, is the geographical location of Mozambique, which in the book is located in East Africa and is not listed as a country of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), an entity it participated in founding.
Another anomaly considered serious is the location of the former borders of Zimbabwe, a country that borders Mozambique, but which the book states is bathed by the Red Sea.