Establishment of Regulatory Bodies To Supervise The Writing and Publishing of Textbooks

Nancy B. Alston

Many people have entered the field of writing and publishing of textbooks to be used by students in various levels of educational institutions globally. This is largely because many of such persons are lured into the field of writing and publishing due to its lucrative nature. They enter the stream of writing and publishing solely for business reasons, thus, to make profits. Owing to this, many unqualified persons have written numerous textbooks that are sold in the public domain to students. These textbooks that are far below the quality standard in terms of the truism to the content knowledge of subjects are allowed to enter the market without any strict monitoring by any regulatory team.

Also, many of these books lack the proper technicalities and ethics in writing and publishing. As such, many of them trail in helping students grasp the content knowledge of subjects. Worst, these quack textbooks feed learners with false knowledge and pollute their understanding of particular topics in a field of study. This situation has resulted in poor learning outcomes in students as well as their emptiness and misinformation on various sensitive topics in many fields of study. If this condition is left unattended, the expected high standards of education would be compromised while students who are victims of these quack textbooks would fail in examinations of the subjects. Therefore, there is the urgent need for countries to set up writing and publishing regulatory bodies to monitor the writing and publishing of textbooks that are allowed into the market to be purchased by students. This would bring sanity into the field of writing and publishing.

It must be noted that writing and publishing of textbooks is a serious technical activity that requires that certain standards are followed meticulously. For instance, authors of textbooks for particular subjects must be very knowledgeable in the subjects they are writing on. They must have enrolled in courses in the subject and should have qualified certifications that attest to their possession of expert knowledge in the subject. Unfortunately, many authors of textbooks lack the requisite content knowledge in the subjects they write. As a result, their textbooks have several loopholes in the content knowledge of the subject. Moreover, because of their lack of adequate knowledge on the subject, they put false information on topics treated in the public space.

Furthermore, many of the textbooks sold on the market lack the accepted ethics in writing and publishing. One key requirement that is often flouted is the writing of a textbook at the proper level of difficulty of students. This means that textbooks written for a particular level of education must be able to meet the grasping abilities and learning development stage requirements of potential readers. The grammar, sentence construction, examples and illustrations utilized in the textbook must be easily understood by learners in the level of education the textbook is meant to serve. The age ranges of learners must be considered while writing textbooks. This would inform the authors on how to present the written content knowledge in a manner that would be well and easily assimilated by learners. It is distressing to know that even experts in the content knowledge of a subject lack the ethics in good writing and publishing.

When writing and publishing regulatory bodies are established in countries, they would ensure that authors have expert content knowledge in the subjects they want to write on. Thus, before a textbook is allowed into the public space, these regulatory bodies would first check the expertise of the author whether they are qualified before they are allowed to write the textbook and publish it for students to use. Also, they would ensure that the ethics in writing and publishing are meticulously followed by authors who even possess the expert knowledge in the subjects they intend writing and publishing the textbooks. Periodically, these regulatory bodies must organize refreshing courses for authors and publishers to update them on new developments in writing and publishing. This would help them in honing their writing and publishing skills so that they would periodically revise the content of their textbooks as and when there are global dynamics in writing and publishing.

The writing and publishing of books is a noble profession that must not be reduced to a money-making venture. It is the field that feeds and upgrades the knowledge and knowing abilities of members of the general public, especially students and teachers in educational institutions. Therefore, there is the need to ensure the maintenance of firm and high standards in the writing and publishing of textbooks. The setting up of these writing and publishing regulatory bodies would be a potent means of curbing the lapses in various educational institutions, especially, the dwindling performances of students in the achievement of expected learning outcomes that is mainly caused by substandard textbooks.

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