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MPs condemn textbooks fueling ethnocentrism

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Members of Parliament have condemned the publication of some textbooks for use in schools, which portray Ewes in a bad light, fueling ethnocentrism.

They said they had taken notice of the public outrage and condemnation against the publisher’s divisive content.

“It is important to state unequivocally that as the Volta Regional Caucus, we find the contents of these books most distasteful, backward, unacceptable and most reprehensible,” Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, MP for Akatsi North, said.

In a statement on the floor of Parliament, Mr Nortsu-Kotoe, the Ranking Member on the Educational Committee, described the publication as “part of a grand scheme by certain individuals to deliberately denigrate, vilify, indoctrinate and poison the minds of people against the Ewe ethnic group.”

He called on the Ministry of Education to immediately withdraw the books from the schools and bookshops.

The publishers, he said, should be made to suffer the necessary sanctions to serve as a deterrent to others.

Mr Nortsu-Kotoe said many a time, political leaders made derogatory remarks about Ewes, which had been taken for granted.

“The last straw that broke the camel’s back is the derogatory remarks contained in a number of textbooks written for use in the basic schools in the country,’ the Legislator, who is also an Educationist, said.

He said every ethnic group had unique features, characteristics, values and norms, and cultural identity such as traditional deities that were cherished and preserved.

“Therefore it is naive for the publication of textbooks that tend to portray the Ewe ethnic group as a voodoo worshipping people,” Mr Nortsu-Kotoe said.

He wondered why in a world of development where science and technology had become the order of the day, a publisher would think it was juju that made a team win a football match and assigned such magical powers to the Ewes.

Mr Nortsu-Kotoe called on the publishers of the book: History of Ghana by Badu Nkansah Publications, Textbook 3, to take note that the Volta Region had rich cultures including rite to succession of chiefs and nowhere in the Ewe land had a ballot been to select a chief.

“Ewes have defined traditional steps and rites that are followed like any other tribe in Ghana for succession to the chieftaincy stools,” he said.

Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, said the claim by the publishers that they did not know how the books got to the market could not be true, questioning who was profiting from the sales.

He criticised the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NaCCA) for “letting the country down,” and said it was not diligent in its scrutiny of the textbooks.

He said the Minister of Education, NaCCA officials and publishers needed to appear before the Educational Committee of Parliament to provide answers.

Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader, said Parliament must give more powers to NaCCA to enable it to enforce its regulation.

He said the move would help forestall the incidence of controversial publications like the anti-Ewe textbook, which had triggered nationwide outrage.

He said the NaCCA had no power to confiscate products it had not approved unlike the Food and Drugs Authority.

“So, Mr Speaker, after all the talk, if we want to stop some of these things, we would do so in giving NaCCA the power. Because Mr Speaker, in all of the criticism, the question is; what was the regulator doing?” he asked.

Source: GNA

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