NBDB Work on Textbooks (June 11, 2008)

It is a disappointment to read an unbalanced and one-sided headline story on "error-filled books" in a national daily. The so-called investigative team of the daily did not do its homework in finding out what the NBDB does to raise the quality of private school textbooks.

While the law (RA 8047) did not make the NBDB a regulatory agency, and our country unlike China has no textbook police, the agency has come up with mechanisms by which it is able to exercise an effective form of moral authority over the book publishers registered with it. In all the mechanisms, the NBDB makes known its procedures and its findings through its website and quarterly newsletter.

These mechanisms like the Textbook Review Service have led to the revision and improvement of several books including some of those about which Antonio Calipjo Go complained like the English 3 textbook of Phoenix. On the other hand, the findings of two Centers of Excellence, which found several Science and English textbooks to be generally good and needing only minor improvements, were angrily rejected by Mr. Go, who believes he has a monopoly of textbook expertise in several disciplines. It is unfortunate that Mr. Go imagines that anybody, especially a real expert, who dares to publicly dispute his findings is harassing him.

Last year, the NBDB launched the Quality Seal Award. It solicited nominations from private schools on the best books in Mathematics for elementary and high school. The agency has undertaken the evaluation of a total of nineteen (19) Mathematics textbooks, which have been judged on the basis of content and physical features.

The NBDB believes that there ought to be a mechanism to recognize quality textbooks so that publishers are encouraged to produce superior books. It is pleased to announce that it is giving the Quality Seal Award to the first winners this Saturday, 14 June 2008, at the Emerald-A room of the Crowne Plaza at 2:00 pm.

For the Quality Seal Award for next year, the agency is calling again for nominations of textbooks in English and Mathematics used in private schools.

The NBDB is pleased to announce that this year the agency has succeeded to have the “content development” of textbooks included in the government’s Investment Priority Plan (IPP). This means that an incentive such as the Income Tax Holiday is available to those publishers who prioritize the improvement of the quality of their outputs and invest in research and development. Hopefully, the end result of this effort is the production of superior textbooks at affordable prices.

posted by AJB