The Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) says its School Book Development project has demonstrated that Malawian writers can compete at both local and international market.
This follows the completion of the five year project that the body was running which aimed at creating a skilled and sustainable local educational publishing industry that serves the needs of local secondary education with selection of quality books for different subjects.
An evaluation of program also shows that it has created opportunities for improving writing skills and exposure of professionalism, according to COSOMA’s Project Officer Treassar Msokera Nhlane.
“It has encouraged indigenous players in the industry to embrace the educational book publishing using local authors, editors, book illustrators, designers and printers.
“Similarly, it has led to the increase of membership of the Malawi Union of Academic and Non-fiction Authors. In 2019 alone, the association grew by 36% as author’s participation in the Project was through the Union,” explained Nhlane.
So far, 82 Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS) covering all the 28 districts have benefitted from the project. They were supplemented with textbooks for Agriculture, Chichewa, English, Geography and History subjects.
“While the Project was addressing the building of capacity of authors and publishers to develop these books as they were done and printed locally, schools were benefiting through the donations,” she added.
Nhlane added that the project has registered a number of success stories beyond the envisaged two main outcomes of improved indigenous expertise in educational publishing and increased availability of supplementary core subject textbooks in selected schools.
“During our recent monitoring, we realised the project has filled more existing gaps in these schools. There is the EQUALS project by the Ministry of Education which among others, aims to improve quality of science and mathematics instruction in CDSSs.
“Meanwhile, COSOMA’s project assisted the schools with language, humanities subjects, thereby balancing up the situation. In one of the schools, they were not learning History due to no textbooks, but now they have started following our donation,” explained Nhlane.
The COSOMA School Book Development project has been running from 2017 to 2021.