The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) has introduced Quick Response Codes (QR codes) on textbooks to help users differentiate between approved and unapproved ones.
The Director-General of NaCCA, Professor Edward Appiah, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic, advised schools and parents to ensure that any textbook they bought had the QR Code.
“A textbook without a QR code means that it has not been approved by NaCCA and, therefore, might not be suitable for use by our learners in school,” he said.
The decision by NaCCA to introduce the QR code is in response to the flooding of the book industry with unsuitable books and other teaching and learning materials (TLMs), most of which find their way into schools for use by the learners.
“By our mandate, NaCCA is to review and approve the quality and quantity of textbooks and other TLMs of educational values for the pre-tertiary institutions,” Prof. Appiah said.
He explained that it had come to the notice of the Council that some schools were using unapproved textbooks and the Council had decided that the QR codes would help sanitise the industry and ensure that only approved textbooks were used in our schools.
He admitted that sometimes the schools did not even know the difference between approved and unapproved books and was confident that with the introduction of the QR code, books without it would not be patronised.
“We have and continue to sensitise schools and the general public to it to ensure that publishers do not dump unapproved books on them,” Prof. Appiah said.
Taking the Daily Graphic through the process of the use of the QR code, the NaCCA boss said users had to download the code scanner from either the Google Play store for Android phones or the Apple App Store for iPhone users to be able to use it.
He explained that, with that special NaCCA scanner, the public could scan the QR code displayed at either the front or back of the book, indicating that it had been approved, adding that if the QR code on the book was different, it would not be captured by the special scanner.
Asked what happened to those books already in the market, which NaCCA approved before the introduction of the code, Prof. Appiah explained that the Council was in talks with the Ghana Publishers Association to get them to secure the hard copy of it to get it embedded on already approved books.
He was rather quick to add that the Council would not regularise already published and printed books, since that would compromise the use of the QR code.
Prof. Appiah advised the schools to stay away from books without the QR code as the Council could not guarantee their authenticity and usefulness for the learners.
He was confident that “this QR code regime will get publishers to sit up and ensure that they meet minimum standards with the books they produce”.